It’s been 20 months since we left California, and I’m still peeling off layers.
My heart was in San Francisco
I had lived in the SF Bay area since 2004, when I first moved to San Francisco. Wow, did I love that once beautiful city by the bay, with its European feel, hip culture, Mediterranean climate, and more. The city was a “happening” scene, and I was a short walk or drive to the ocean beaches, the redwood forests, the snowy mountains or the tranquil rivers. Every corner you turned was a new, magnificent vista. I loved my work and colleagues, made great friends, and was always meeting new and interesting people from all over.
It was a short hop down to SoCal, and I frequently made a weekend of it to spend on the world class beaches and warm water in the San Diego area where my sister was raising her family. Work brought me into the Hollywood studios, and I got to visit with and hang out with friends from all over the world who had eventually made their way to Los Angeles. My husband and I met on a flight from San Diego to San Francisco, where he also lived. We had a blast together making the most of all the city had to offer, then moved across the Golden Gate Bridge to Marin County once we started our family.
Fairyland across the bay
Marin was another type of paradise. It had been developed very consciously, so that its natural beauty was preserved. The land hadn’t been razed and cleared for development. Instead, the neighborhoods were built around and within the trees, mountain and foothills, and saturation was deliberately prevented. Most residents had a very short walk to acres of forested trails, lakes and streams, and the trail just outside our backyard led to breathtaking vistas, edible and medicinal plant gathering and natural wildlife all around. Our little town alone boasted 4 waterfalls.
Our son had been born in our apartment in San Francisco, and our daughter was born in our house in Marin. Our community seemed so like-minded, into natural health and living, focused on consciousness raising and metaphysical awareness. My husband walked to work, where he operated his business out of offices in our little downtown. Bumper stickers were sold that referred to our town as “Mayberry on Acid,” if that gives more of a picture.
It was idyllic. For a time.
And then it wasn’t. We had to leave.
So many of us––those who have left, those who are leaving, and those still there––are still trying to put the pieces together, trying to unravel the “unraveling,” trying to understand it, trying to explain it. Yes, the political environment is responsible for much. The socioeconomic policies and environmental regulations that were gradually being implemented over the last few decades there––which exponentially accelerated the last few years––have dramatically transformed the California that once was. And the Covid lockdowns and policies over the last two years took it beyond what any of us really could imagine. But there was something there, already underlying the culture, which facilitated all of that, permitted all of it.
And it isn’t until one has been living out of it for awhile, experiencing the cultures of other states, that more of the subtle differences become apparent.
Where to go?
When we decided to leave, we were planning on moving out of the country. We couldn’t imagine that it could be that different anywhere in the States, and we were planning to move to Belize when we put our house on the market two days before CA Governor Newsom implemented the first “shelter-in-place” in the country in six SF Bay area counties, ours being one. Everything changed for us, our business went dead, the Marin real estate market went dead, Belize borders closed. We changed course and expectations, sold the house for less than planned and spent a year in Idaho near the Montana border. A few months ago, we found our permanent home in beautiful Texas Hill Country.
I’ve commiserated with friends who have left. Many have settled in Idaho, Florida, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arizona, Montana, Arkansas, Alabama––and here in Texas. Everyone I talk to has gone through a similar process of awakening. Waking up to how much more messed up it was back there than we had even realized.
Living in California had changed me
I hadn’t realized, until I had lived elsewhere for some time, that I had learned to operate under the assumption that I couldn’t trust folks to follow through on their commitments. That there was always an underlying assumption that folks usually had an ulterior motive when being helpful. I hadn’t realized until I lived in a place in which folks truly value character, kindness and friendship, that I had been living in a place which prioritized material status and image. I hadn’t realized until I lived in a place with a healthy distrust of authority, that I had been living in a place with an almost religious reverence for government.
I hadn’t realized how much focus was on passing the buck and playing the blame game in California until I lived in a place in which people owned up to their mistakes. I hadn’t realized how indirect and passive the day-to-day communication was in California until I lived in a place where people were so straightforward and tell it like it is. And I hadn’t realized how narcissistic and selfish the culture was there until I lived in a place where people truly want to be of service.
Goodness for goodness’ sake
I am so grateful for the standard of humanity I have found here. I get the sense that folks here are honest, helpful, kind and generous, not because of how it will look to other people, but because it is the right thing to be, because they honor themselves and others too much to behave or conduct themselves otherwise. Whereas a culture pervaded the area I lived and worked in California in which folks would often behave in any manner they could get away with––while virtue signaling their supposed regard for others with “We Believe…” signs in their front yard.
We have made so many friends, met so many cool people––folks who think for themselves, folks who think outside the box, folks who don’t care what skin color or gender you are. I have never been made so aware of race, gender, sexual orientation than when I lived in the “anti-racist” SF Bay Area.
You do yours and I’ll do mine
We don’t wear masks anywhere. The folks that do wear masks don’t seem to project any hostility or concern about those who don’t. Morality isn’t wrapped up in people’s choices surrounding Covid. Ever since I left California, folks have always shaken hands, hugged in greetings, exhibit no fear of one another. And there just seems to be a high regard and respect for individual choice, in general. There is a tolerance, an acceptance, a generally charitable attitude toward others I find here in Texas––and in Idaho––which is very different than the judgmental, condemning attitudes I was accustomed to back in California.
The SF Bay Area culture prides itself on an identity of tolerance, diversity and large mindedness. It is quite the opposite in practice. But I didn’t feel its full impact until I moved to an area which is truly diverse in ideas and people. And the fierce individualism at the heart of this culture naturally sustains a tolerant regard for others’ individual expression, practice, choices. Where conformity isn’t the virtue, other traits like honesty, generosity, kindness, sincerity and responsibility weave the social fabric.
There is a world outside California…and it’s better!
California is beautiful on the outside, but seems to have rotted from within. We have not been back to visit since we left, and we have no desire to return, even for a short stay. Most of our friends still living there have come to visit, and more still plan to––as they all need a respite and healthy dose of sanity from time to time. Others will stop by on their frequent recon trips to different parts of the country as they search for a new homeland.
We live in an astonishingly beautiful country. There is a kind of prideful lament among Californians that they can’t leave, because nowhere has as beautiful a landscape and weather––and the outdoor lifestyle that facilitates. Beauty abounds in every state––from purple mountain majesties and sea to shining sea. And at half the price!
If you are still living in California and are struggling with the decision to leave, realize that not only is there a better world outside California, it is better than you can even imagine. Freedom awaits you all over––freedom to experience a different standard of humanity, and freedom to exercise your own.
So it’s been a while since we’ve done one of these recordings recorded chats, but we’ve been chatting a lot throughout the last few months as I have settled here now down in Texas Hill country. And you are there up in Portland, Oregon where it’s rainy and wet. And treesy, as I see behind you. And we have been, and continue to try to understand how’d you put it, this accelerated journey that we’re, we all seem to be on the lesson that we’re all supposed to, or the opportunity to learn. And it has brought us to this concept of charity.
I was asking you and, and Drake, your son home from college is there, is in the house. I was asking what’s, you know, what’s the opposite of, of judgment, condemnation, criticism, and he threw out charity, true charity, the highest love. And that resonates with me because I was trying, I was talking to you a little bit about this, this journey that I’ve been on in terms of, you know over the last year and a half or more having concerns, anxieties, focus that has shifted where I am not feeling so caught up in the chaos out there. And I was trying to put some language on it and explaining that I’m attempting, striving to transcend that duality, because I think that’s where the answer lies somewhere for us all to kind of keep moving forward to, evolve. And you, you know, rightly took a little issue with that term because that almost suggests not being here in this, and committed in this present moment.
Right. So we found a better word for it, I think. And I’ll just throw a few thoughts out there, but I think the answer has to do with definitely charity of spirit and, and understanding. That’s what we keep coming back to. What are we trying to do here? What does the answer often seem to be? And let me give a very very mundane example. We adopted these lovely cats, once we got the house and quickly in–– I mean, things have been busy. There’s been a lot of, busyness and movement. And in the past when we’ve had cats before, we’ve always used crystal cat litter, silica, and we pretty quickly transitioned the cats to that. When we first got them, it was a last minute thing, we had just grabbed some of that clay litter and a pan.
Everything was fine. They were trained already. But we moved them to the silica cat litter and long story short, there’s been some, some difficulty for the last month with the male cat who keeps peeing areas that he shouldn’t, and I’ve been racking my brain with it. And, and long story short is I realized I was trying everything except the litter, the type of litter. Changed it back to the clay litter and it solved it immediately. And there was this, like, just this sense of something, kind of like just clarity, right? I mean, it was so.
<Laugh> He wanted that clay litter. He wanted the clay. It was so simple, but it was so for some reason, challenging to figure it out and, you know, I just kind of am seeing this as an example, <laugh>…
…don’t go for the crystal folks, go for the clay.
<laugh> Well, it’s just that, it’s all so simple. What we, he, and I couldn’t understand each other. You know, and I, I had other issues with other cats with that, you know, and I’m like conflating it all. In the past with peeing and litter boxes and like, what were the issues? And this one was very simple. And I think that’s the case with all of us, for all of us, with our, certainly our disagreements and this polarization that’s happened and continuing to happen. And I think that, you know, a whole other part of it––to get a little woo woo––you know, I’m really grocking that we are, we really are creating our own reality. We manifest our reality with, with, with our thoughts, our mind, our intentions, and that suggests if we are manifesting our realities, and each of us are manifesting that, that suggests that that person’s fear or concern is just as valid as my fear or concern, that that person’s reality is just as valid as mine. And, you know, if we accept that, that we are manifesting our own realities, then obviously it seems the next thing to, to shine some light on is, is perhaps you know, even letting go of those fears so that we don’t, neither of us, none of us manifest them, but there’s charity simply in the understanding that their, everything is as valid as mine,
I’m gonna chime in. I think that within all of that is one, interest. Even if it’s not one you must pursue, but when we are faced with another’s perspective or experience, is that there’s a space of interest and that then creates a pathway, a connection from them to you, and you to them. And when you are speaking about these polarizing experiences, that many of us are having it’s, it’s about interest. It’s about creating the pathways. It’s about rounding out our individual perspectives and therefore making a space or allowing a space that we can be connected, that we can be connected and interested and create pathways together. Because as you’re speaking of communication with your cats, you know, if you are holding one idea so firmly, there’s no space or room for anything else to come. And so if we can find our own way, and that’s where charity is, is a practice. Rounding ourselves out to be softer, to be perceiving without holding our own torch so strong.
Yeah, exactly. And right, you’ve, you’ve talked a lot about gentleness too. You’ve brought that up when we’ve discussed these concepts and my experiences. You know, we can’t really go wrong by being gentle in our reactions or responses to people, to beings, to animals…
And to ourselves, right. To be gentle. Yeah. Because in the fact that we’re all, we’re each having our own reality, unique to each of us
And unique to what we are wanting to learn and experience.
Yeah, right. I mean, we, we are each on an individual path that converges with others and in one form or another assists others on their paths, but it it’s unique to each of us. And so we are basically, we’re, we’re doing the best we can, we’re each doing the best we can, you know? I mean, there are levels, I think, of muckiness or clarity in our intentions. Hopefully we can grow past mean spiritedness. But even if we’ve grown past conscious mean spiritedness, it doesn’t mean we’re going to avoid unconscious mean spiritedness, you know, so you can take it pretty far with that, recognizing that each person’s triggers that may result in a very negative response or seeming offense is, is just, you know, it’s just them doing the best they can with where they’ve gotten, you know, how they’ve gotten here to this point. So, yeah, generosity of spirit and, and love. I mean, it keeps coming back to––love is the answer, love is the way.
So, okay. So, you know, the other part is we all know that these are things to strive for––charity, compassion love, love and understanding. I think the journey that, you know, we struggle with is how to do it, ’cause it’s easy to say, but sure is hard to do in our reactions.
And it shows up in, in numerous ways and we may discover this is how I find it here. And then we get a new opportunity to find it in a new place. I think one of the things, I don’t know if this is a place you wanna go, but we had been discussing a little bit, I mean, and where I am. I see it so vividly this culture of finding offense. In so many places. And it’s so easy to be critical to, to have a critical perspective. And it’s easy to find what’s wrong with things. And we were kind of talking a little bit it’s the holiday season and people celebrate many different holidays and our conversation had been a little bit, you know, if I can say this, a joy in being able to say “Merry Christmas” to people. And, and I simply commented that, yeah, we all know that the, the impulse in these sharing of celebratory gestures to people, greetings, of honoring this holiday time is good. So it doesn’t really even matter what we say, in a certain way. Because let’s, let’s take the good and move on, move along, rather than this space of getting stuck on how we’re being offended by someone not saying to us what we want to be said.
Yeah, right. Certainly let’s be charitable in spirit in how we receive folks’ intentions, right?
And, and let’s not cut ourselves short. Let’s not minimize our capacity to perceive what is being offered. The words are one of the pathways and words are important, but we can frequently sense what’s behind or around the words. And if we allow ourselves to be that big and that perceptive, we’re very rarely gonna be truly offended by anyone! Because most often, people are not trying to offend. Most often. I mean, there are other times, but that was another part we had talked about.
Exactly. And I’d say that extends further. And let me just make one quick note, I’m choosing to, to, to avoid certain terms as I’m discussing things, just because there are some restrictions in terms of what, you know, how visible this video can be. <Laugh>, you know, depending on the terms and, and some of the language I use. So if I seem a little vague it’s for that reason, but I think people can get the idea if they’re following along. But so back to offense, you know, back to honoring ourselves as humans, honoring others, as human beings, in the greatness and glory of being human, by being larger than maybe we have been led or misguided to believe we are, rather than reduce our perceptions to the word itself, “Merry Christmas.”
I mean, for example, right? There’s, this trend of saying “Happy Holidays,” right? To avoid offending someone who’s not Christian. The reality is, if somebody’s saying Merry Christmas, they’re just wishing you love. Right? So so let’s not reduce ourselves just to the, the words themselves. We can perceive their spirit, we can perceive the emotion behind it. We can perceive the intention behind it. Right? And, then same goes, I think for––let’s go from offense to fear, cuz they’re a bit related in, in terms of our triggers.
They’re contracting. They’re a contraction.
Yeah, exactly. And so we can practice that same charity in how we receive news, in how we receive other people’s gestures and their own responses. If we are more charitable with that, it will probably help moderate our own fear responses and triggers. And the more we can do this regularly, I think the more we find ourselves not caught up in…just to, to kind of get above the duality, if, if, if I can call it that. I’m trying to not say transcend the duality, but just, or get outside the duality. How about that? Not above it, but outside the duality.
Yeah. Like, so if the duality is this <hands facing each other>, we can exist and embrace it all.
Yeah. Yeah. Because the duality requires this perspective facing this way, this perspective facing this way <hands facing each other>, pretty much only.
Precisely. And I was thinking about you know, friction, right? We need a little friction to become something, but if you’re only existing in the space of “against,” then you don’t see very much. And so if, if you think of, I don’t know if I have a good analogy, but it’s like, it gets pressed so finely that it now has to go outside of it and exist all around and include it. So if it’s smash, smash, smash, smash, smash, it goes so small. It turns inside out. And it’s now bigger than that little space in here.
Like the torus.
Precisely. Yeah. It’s an inverted sphere.
So if we think of––there’s a need for this coming together, pressing against, forming, distilling even, and then it becomes vast as well. And when we were speaking about this sort of accelerated time we’re in that’s––I think I know I’ve definitely felt these moments where it’s like, ugh, uncomfortable. And then when I can remember that I don’t have to only exist in that, I can be bigger and include all of it and embrace it all. Then you can breathe again and you can see a little more fully all of the colors around you and not just this space of despair or the space of challenge.
Right. So you’re suggesting that it’s necessary as part of the process for us to get kind of myopic in that perspective until it gets so a small, we go inward and it comes…<encompassing hand gesture>
It’s a thought, I mean, I hope that we don’t always have to get there, but maybe that’s, I mean, we all have heard this, the eye of the needle. Yeah. That’s the birth, it’s a birth. So if, if there’s a birthing into functioning, becoming in a new way, it’s not always gonna be easy going, you know? You come through a channel, you come through something that’s pressing upon you, and then you can expand.
Well, you know, as has been discussed, the light needs the dark to reflect itself. We need reference. So that’s a–– and that friction that you’re talking about too––but that’s an easy way to explore one perspective is to go against another’s perspective. And to really kinda, really get in this experience of this one particular perspective. And maybe we do that, exhaust this, and then it’s time to move on, widen, widen our scope and try another perspective.
Well, the thing I want to interject, or add, is that I think my goal <laugh> I’ll say is to be able to come into that without only existing in that. So one can go into this discussion, this pressing against, but not be only there. To not lose the roundness of objectivity. I wonder if, if one cannot connect with that broader sphere, when coming against something, you do simply stay in this against, against, against? This is a question, because it appears sometimes there’s not the evolution into a broader seeing.
Well, maybe without charity, you can get stuck there. But, but, you know, charity is, is also related to our oneness, our connection. It recognizes that I am you and you are me. And that makes it easy to maybe a little more fluidly step into your shoes. And switch my perspective up and not get so stuck in mine.
So in the end, and I know this has been a mishmosh of, of thoughts and ideas, but what I will simply say is that I appreciate the journey that it has been this last year and a half––almost two years now––that has been challenging and grueling at times. Because personally I do feel––and I think when we think we’ve gone through the eye of the needle, we’re like, oh yeah, we went through like one of those big ones and now we got a teeny one to go through, you know––just another state, I do feel there’s been a shift. I’ve had my own shift that has been in rewarding to, to peer from this perspective, even, at my journey this last year and a half or so. And I do not feel, like I said, so so caught up in, in the chaos. And obviously all of the cliches are true––I mean, you know, we spent a year in the most remote area, with no distraction. That kind of gives you some time to go inward.
And that’s a, that’s a good thing to do as well. Meditation, prayer helps all of this process. But I think another part of it that’s been a key for me, is getting in touch with this understanding that I am having––just my own perspective right now<laughs>––but the perspective I’m having that we really create our reality. And so what we choose to focus on is the reality we’re going to probably be experiencing to one degree or another going forward. When we truly know this, it becomes a little easier to very consciously not feed a reality that we are not wanting to see in our future and, and to control, I guess, our reaction to those who may be dwelling in a reality that we are not wanting to see, by forgiving them, by loving them, because they’re just on their own journey.
By being charitable. So for whatever it’s worth.
Merry Christmas. <Laugh> Happy Hanukah. And just, you know, love to all. Love to all.
Even if we no longer relate to each other. Even if you’ve “unfriended” me (or threatened to). Even if we no longer chat or text or see each other. Even if we’ve completely lost touch.
We don’t get each other
We no longer understand each other enough to maintain a friendship. Some of you have put conditions on the friendship, in what might be considered a valiant attempt to maintain it. Some of you requested that we introduce new rules to the relationship. Some explicitly requested some topics be deemed verboten. Others have been more subtle and implicit in said request.
And there are some of you who haven’t made any conscious request like that, at least that I am aware of. But we no longer seem able to relate to each other. I’m not interested in the things you choose to talk about, and you don’t seem interested in the things I choose to talk about. We don’t seem to share the same concerns or priorities or motivations that govern our life choices.
Why fake it?
I suspect neither of us is really very different than we’ve always been, but that we were relating on a different frequency when we first became close. We were in different stages of our lives, and our similarities were more prominent than our differences at the time. As we’ve each moved through subsequent stages of life, our responses to those stages have revealed more of our differences. And who knows? Perhaps future stages will reveal more of the similarities again.
But for now, we don’t seem to be existing in the same reality as each other. So why force it? Why fake it? I know many folks whose familial relationships are constrained by off-limits topics. And perhaps because they’re accustomed to this parameter within their families, they’re more able to apply the same constraints to their friendships.
What are we supposed to talk about?
It is through relationships that we learn, that we grow, that we gain insight, understanding, perspective. I can somewhat understand the etiquette that advises “never talk politics or religion in polite company” in the context of, say, business associates or drinking buddies. It’s not that material to the basis of the relationship. But with good friends? Family? If we can’t speak about meaningful, core value issues with our close friends, then with whom?
By the same token, if one friend’s perspective is too far out there for the other to even entertain or consider as a possibility, then how are they to relate? My own perspective on a number of issues has been labeled “conspiracy theory” by mainstream media. If a friend of mine dismisses my perspective or belief as a “conspiracy theory,” how are they to relate to me, or I to them? Do they compartmentalize that part of me to reject, then accept the rest? How do I resolve that they compartmentalize and dismiss one or many aspects of me?
Such arrangements and navigations seem contrived at best, shallow and dishonest at worst.
Love never dies
Let’s cherish the friendship we had, because we both derived so much from it. Let’s honor the friendship by letting it go as it was, and not bastardize it by contriving rules and regulations to make it fit. And let’s go forward with the new friends we’ve made, friends we can each talk to about the things that are important to us, friends who can understand us, friends we can relate to.
As Dolly wrote, “I will always love you.” Even if we’re not friends anymore.
We’re going to talk about the spell that everybody’s, that many folks seem to be under. We want to talk about it very directly. I feel like I’ve, you know, throughout all of these recordings, I’ve I, I’m not quite as loose as I am in person about my thoughts on everything. So I want to be more direct and real about it. You know, and I think I’ll just give a background again. We were planning to move out of the country before all the lockdowns hit, because I’ve been involved for years in the legislative fight and consciousness fight against vaccine mandates. It was in California, as many of us have been involved in and over those years, I woke up to the reality that medical fascism was the, the means by which those in power were going to try to control the masses.
And California is in the belly of the beast as are other key places across The States and the world, Western World specifically. Of course the, the less developed world is a target as well in a different way. And we didn’t make it out of the country because Newsom’s first shelter in place came down two days after we listed our house, but we did whatever we could to get out of California because we knew that that was going to turn crazy. And it has. I knew the masks would be, would be mandated and, and I knew it would turn into a kind of Stasi police state in which neighbors are turning on neighbors and reporting, et cetera, et cetera. Anyway, a lot of us have seen this. A lot of us saw this. COVID you know you know, I’ve never been afraid of germs.
Really, I mean, especially as I, I mean, I think just my sense has always been, I, you know, I think we were raised not to be germaphobic on any level and understanding of our place in the balance of our environment. And of course, as I’ve gotten older and had to educate myself about vaccines, about infectious disease, I’ve learned a great deal more. That certainly makes me understand that tiny little microbes aren’t are they aren’t the ghouls that they’re made out to be, the monsters they’re made out to be, you know, we, we are, we have a great deal of control over the environment of our body what we put into it, how we fuel it, how we feed it and in terms of how to keep our immune system functioning well. So that’s basic stuff. So it’s been pretty crazy from that vantage point to watch what’s what’s gone on and watch the way people have succumbed to this fear and have fallen under the spell that they were already primed for.
We live in an extremely medicalized society, and I don’t even like to use that term medicalized because medicine suggests something that is intended to heal. But what it’s become of course, is just pharmaceuticals. It’s become drugs. People have become reliant on pharmaceuticals and biotech to live their lives, to manage their health. They don’t even manage it themselves. They, they don’t largely, they, they look to someone else to tell them what to do to manage their health. And those that they’re looking to––the barber surgeons, the MDs, largely, I say this broadly, I mean, there are some brilliant MDs who are, you know, who are totally awake to what’s going on and know health. But largely they’ll listen to what this MD tells them to do, or this radiologist, whatever, just, just whatever expert is doing the scans and telling them what the problem is and prescribing the drugs and the test.
They just, they follow orders. That’s generally it. So we have found ourselves in a society in which people don’t even feel responsible for their health. And even if they actually have a sense that what they’re being told is not correct. It takes them a lot to even reject that and take their health into their own hands. You know, so it’s, it’s been primed, right. We see in the media all over the place for, for decades you know, pandemic blockbusters, you know, that that’s, that’s the new fear people have been primed to, to get to this point of, of perceiving each other as a biohazard. So, okay, so here we are.
Right. and, and so what’s been heartening is folks that didn’t pay a lot of attention to this until, you know, 2020 have woken up to the fact that something is amiss, something doesn’t add up something doesn’t make sense. And I, I see that there is a such a gradation, such a spectrum of folks coming to this. There are some that are all the way where I am and have been. There are some who, you know, don’t necessarily trust experts more than themselves in their own gut and their own instincts, even though they may have gone along with the program with doctors and all that until now. And then there are some who are definitely just coming to that new, fresh realization that they need to start questioning what these so-called experts are telling them.
And then there’s a whole other contingent that I don’t know yet if it’s the majority, it kind of seems to be, I mean, I, the media certainly wants us to believe that. The propaganda machine wants us to believe it’s the majority. So go ahead.
I’m was just going to say, I think a lot of that depends on where we are, you know, is, is, does, it definitely feels like the majority where I am right now. Right. But I don’t know if it does where you are. Yeah. I don’t really have anything to add to it except the, the thing that I’ve been, I think we’ve touched on this a few times in our talks in various ways, it’s like being, being, creating one’s own path and not to be a solo player. I think that’s a tendency that I have, you have, we were, you know, we were singles tennis players.
So there’s that part, but, you know, we definitely need people, need our social spheres and, and, and collective community in a way to live. I mean, we have our families, I’m definitely going through a lot of isolation these days, but some people just need to be in a group maybe, or that’s the overarching draw. And I think that’s a lot of what I see. And I think that’s a lot of the way the, the spell works in the media propaganda is to be with others, to be surrounded by many, you follow these lines, you know? And so when you strike out on your own, you are alone for a bit. I mean, there is that loneliness for sure. And then there’s that essential quality of something real that blows loneliness out because then you’re touching something that’s real and true, which connects you to all anyway, I’m getting a little out there, but I think that part of that, that following that sense of safety, the herd, you know, “don’t notice me, I’m just with the group, let me go along and have a nice day.”
And I might, I might put a name on that. I mean, it may be God that you’re, that you’re referring to that, that something, right. And whatever your concept of God is, but cause that’s a, that’s a, that’s another branch of the thought process in conversation. I as I’ve touched on, I’ve now been in two different locations since spring of 2020, I’ve been in Idaho and I’m currently in Texas. And these two areas of these two states that I’ve been in are much more people here are much more inclined to belong or practice some sort of traditional religion.
And what I have noticed is that these folks are the ones who see what’s happening. And I remember asking, so I had a conversation with a friend back in Idaho before we got here several months into it. And she had come from Seattle, Washington. She and her husband had moved to the area we were in, in, in Idaho, which was not far from the Montana border. It was a very remote area. And she had moved there 15 years ago because she saw what was happening. They saw what was happening. And I said, how did you, how did you see it back then? What, you know, why did I not see this 15 years ago? And she said, well, because I have faith and I, and I was like, what, what is that, what, how does that open your eyes to it? And, you know, and I’m still trying to figure that out.
I definitely you know, my own faith has reawakened over the last many, many years, and I am more in touch with my faith connected to it in practice with it than I had probably ever been in my life in a, in a structured way. But at least more than I have been since childhood when I spoke daily to God. Right. so there’s something to that, right. That because, because in, in faith is a true freedom and, and there’s something to understand there, something to examine in terms of what true freedom is. True Liberty is. And I don’t mean I’m not talking about the same faith––I was just talking to another group of, of amazing women yesterday who made the distinction for me as I’m kind of just like learning this, you know, coming, coming from the San Francisco bay area, atheist central, Atheist headquarters where talk of God and faith and the higher realms and all that is just met with suspicion and derision.
So I’m still finding my way in terms of navigating and understanding the practices, the culture, and all of that here. And they made the distinction between those who practice a religion follow religion and go to church and those who follow and have taken in the spirit of, of Jesus Christ. There there’s a difference, right? Who live by the principles of, of Christ. Very big difference. Sorry, I’m not going to go on a big religious tangent, but…
No. Yeah. And I would just want to distinguish too, you know, of course that the different religions than different practices that people follow it’s, it’s coming to, what is the essence of what the doctrine talks about or what it tries to synthesize from the core of whatever that belief of the spirit of God or, or God itself is so sorry, I’m getting lost too, but I mean, we’ve talked about it. It’s like, is it coming, are you practicing and following as to the best of our ability to penetrate to the essence of the practice? Or are you lost in the trappings, the appearance that’s outside. Right. I mean, that’s Plato, right.
Well, and, and that’s then speaking to, to what you were talking about with the collective. I mean, that’s what I’ve been trying to figure out here, right? It’s it is clear. It is, it is to anyone to any objective observer. It is clear that the collectivism tendencies of now the political Left are seem to be following along with this spell. Folks on this collectivist Left, this collectivist leaning left are under the spell. “Ah, A germ! I’m going to put a mask on and wear goggles and, and stay six feet away from you. And I’m going to get a magic shot that I don’t, I don’t understand anything about it. I’m going to get a magic shot and that’s going to protect me. It’s going to put a big force field around me and for the good of humanity. I don’t understand that this doesn’t even prevent transmission, but a vaccine…” It’s a spell. It is a wackadoo spell that they are all under, right. And, and I’m again, because of the different places that I’ve been in, in the country over this last, this “pandemic” the, the, the political Right, generally are the ones who are cutting through the BS of this. They seem to see through the spell! And, and generally the political, Right, certainly to one degree or another practice a religion and have a faith that acknowledges certainly at least these higher realms, these other realms beyond this materialism.
So the thing that I’ve been actually working, the other day when you and I were talking about, you know, some qualities of the work I’m in and, you know these, these realms of group workings and how it seems the, the political Left and then these other bodies are going only into the collectivism. Right. bear with me for a second. And I, and I’m like, oh, it’s, it’s the same, it comes back to the same thing of the point and the periphery, that as an individual, I must be an individual AND a part of the whole, not just a part of the whole. And that’s what it seems, that the Left seems to be going just to “you’re a part of the whole,” and we have to maintain, there’s something between the two. It’s not just the individual and it’s not just the whole, it’s gotta be, there’s gotta be that togetherness and the honoring of both. So that’s what I’ve been coming to. That’s my breaking of the spell. It’s not one or the other, it’s both at the same time.
Yeah. And I guess that must be the key. So I also, I remember. I was, I was sharing with these women a big wake up I had a few years back. So, you know, prior to 2008, and, and the ACA, when the CDC was awarded a billion dollars a year to market their vaccines, basically it was a very common place thing in educated circles to delay or modify the CDC recommended schedule for children. It was just something that people did. It was something that the my, you know, best friends did when they had their kids, because I came to the party late with kids. Right. You had kids before me and they did too. And so, you know, it was just taking everybody’s lead. I was looking into this and I just assumed we would do a modified schedule, all that, blah, blah, blah. Well, you know, we start looking into it and you start looking into it and you start really looking into it. And you wonder why people are doing this at all “Oh! Herd Immunity, oh, let me go down that rabbit hole.”
And then you, you discover the con job, right. Anyway, specifically one of these friends you know, and as I’m just discovering all of this, this information and sharing it, one of these friends really could not handle it. And, and got upset with me, finally blew up at me one time and told me that she doesn’t want to talk about this kind of thing with me anymore. And we’ve all had that experience with a lot of people in our lives I know. But anyway, a few years later, and I didn’t, so I didn’t, it’s like, okay. I mean, I didn’t realize this was such a trigger issue. Why? This is just information, right? That I’m sharing to, to help you with your kids. Me with mine., And so a few years later, after the defeat of SB277 the bill for anybody who’s listening to this and doesn’t know, SB 277 was the bill that passed through the California legislature that removed personal belief, personal belief, and religious essentially exemptions for any parents who wanted to exempt their child from any one of the 72 doses––well, it’s not exactly that, but the California schedule. So on this, the California schedule for school children, the vaccines that they were supposed to receive, they could no longer, after that, make that choice. The only option at the time was a medical exemption. As we’ve talked about, as we’ve gone through now, those medical exemptions basically don’t exist anymore, either with the passage of another bill SB276. Anyway, after SB277, I was talking with her and she acknowledged, she knew that I had devoted a lot of my life to, to fighting this and opposing this and trying to stop it. And she basically explained to me that she understood that, you know, the, the regulatory agencies are bought, that there’s corruption, that corporate corruption has infiltrated everything. But she said that she prefers to be wrong and in good company––that is following what the crowd is doing––rather than be wrong and have gone with her own decisions and choices and gut.
She’d rather not buck that good company. She’d rather be in the company of many and be wrong than stand alone and be wrong. And I really, that hit me and I realized we’re the opposite. I’m the absolute opposite. I don’t have a problem going along with the crowd if it sits right with me. But if going along with the crowd does not sit right with my gut, my sense, might intellect, I will absolutely not forgive myself if I’m wrong about my child’s health and safety, but because I decided to go along with the many and went against myself. So we were talking about this last night, this, this group of very smart women and I, and they said that that’s, that’s really what it’s about. That’s why folks are under the spell. Because it absolves them, to some degree of responsibility.
Right. Interesting. And I think this just reminds me, I had a quick conversation today because going through the things I’m, you know, my job is, is requiring getting the shot. You know, we still have religious exemption here, but those of us that are going to claim a religious exemption are also going to be shamed into wearing a certain type of mask or, and having to maintain distance. We’re teachers mind you. So it’s ridiculous. And that, that thing, you know, and we each, I think come to these places at different times in our life where, I mean, I’m going to try to articulate this succinctly, but, you know, through my life, one of my greatest journeys has been through the relationship with my children’s father and that dynamic that, you know, really pushed me to claim myself in my own space. And, and once you, once I’ve done that, I’ll speak for myself once I’ve done that in a really hard nitty-gritty life choice, it’s not like you’d give that away easily. Right? I mean, that’s the part you know, each of our journeys, each of us has this journey that we’re faced with moments of, are you choosing, listening to yourself or are you choosing to step away from yourself? Are you choosing to inhabit yourself and fulfill your destiny with courage? Or are you choosing to sidestep your path? This is how I look at it anyway. And through my life, there were moments where maybe I was a little more cowardly. I chose this, this seemed easier. This seems safer. But then it takes, took me on this circuitous path to an ultimate challenge where it’s like, it was very clear to me. I’m either choosing myself or I’m choosing to divide myself to split my soul. I’ll call it Voldemorting, right. For our popular world. That’s the splitting of the soul.
When you choose to be false to yourself, you know, you choose to split your soul essentially. Anyway. And so from that, when I had to make that choice, it’s either I’m either going to, you know, lose myself entirely and give myself over to something that feels wrong, or I’m going to choose myself and I’m going to have a fricking battle, now, like I’m going to have to step into the trenches. I can’t sidestep it anymore. And so I did choose that, you know, and so here I am, life’s not easy, but it’s true. And, and once you do that consciously, once I did that consciously, there there’s nothing, nothing is more valuable than choosing what is true and right. Nothing. And, and so in that layering, when we were talking about, you know, is it God, you know? Yes, but it’s like getting in touch with that, which is truly the substance under all the appearance.
Like that is what this time is pushing so many of us toward in a very concrete way, which is, we also had an intimation of this when our parents died, the fabric of reality crashed, and we didn’t have that holding anymore. So all we had was the essence of God to keep us, of love, of each other, to keep moving in life. And so, you know, I feel like that’s the crux we’re at, you know, many of us, and we’re all in different places. I kind of went over in that. But, but that’s it, once you have the value of that, you’re not going to choose something else. How can you? I mean, how can you? I don’t know.
Exactly. And, you know, you just, you made me articulate something again, that I keep coming back to again and again, in terms of, you know, just, just, what is God? I think I sense, I’m getting closer. You know, you get glimpses that God is perfect alignment, right. Being in perfect alignment. That is, what is the Christ consciousness? That is being in perfect alignment. And so, so, so when you choose that, when you choose to keep your soul whole, choose to not split it by taking the easy path, you kind of get, I think you find a groove that is a pretty solid framework that is hard after that to step out of. Because you have found this alignment that is deep, infinitely deep and right, and real and pure. And, you know, and that’s, those are the things those are the times in life. It’s that awareness, it’s that memory, it’s that feeling, it’s that connection that gives us courage next time there’s, there’s a choice to take an easy way or not. So anyway, sorry, I’m, I’m again in my head. So yeah, I mean, I will definitely say that, you know, you know, we’ve also talked about this before, but with every human being and with, with every discipline, every, every component of our lives, everything takes practice and everything takes muscle building. And the, the fewer muscles you build along the way, the weaker you get, and the more muscles you build, the stronger it gets.
I think that, I think you’re right. I think probably there’s a difference between the folks that haven’t even thought twice at all before because they, their lives and their circumstances and lives haven’t brought them to look at it or examine it versus those that I, that I’m even talking about who actually have had it there in their faces and have chosen, consciously chosen to step away from it, to look away from it and, and, and follow the crowd. So, so back to where I kind of wanted to, to get to. This is a spell, you know, and, and there’s, there are so many folks I know who are trying from every angle to convince those under the spell, and it’s just not going to work. There’s no point in trying, I think at this point, in trying to convince anyone who has chosen to remain under that spell. And the more you try to convince them, the harder they’re going to fight to cling to that spell.
And that spell has been woven, I can’t even conceive of all of the forces behind this spell. I think they are spiritual, metaphysical, material, human you know, Borg-like mind and more. And also very directed, I mean, my husband was, I can’t remember what he was reading or watching, where he was articulating something that I think we talked about before, but, it’s pretty clear to me. It was pretty clear to me early in the, again, I’m going to call it the lockdown craziness, not, you know, I don’t like to even call this COVID. COVID did not do this a virus, little microbe didn’t do all of this. Human beings did. And, you know, CIA and, and related organizations have a lot of tactics up their sleeve. And, you know, there’s some pretty basic, pretty basic techniques that have been employed successfully over time. Also just cults. Just like small examinations of isolated cults and how they have effectively brainwashed people.
You start out with an insane, ridiculous premise that really doesn’t have any foundation in logic at all in the first place. And you, you accompany that with fear. I mean, you couple it with fear, it’s fear, fear, fear, fear of this boogeyman, right? Fear of this boogeyman. The bogeyman doesn’t make any sense. And the, the defense against the boogeyman changes, the, the recommendations, this is what’s going to work. This is what’s going to work, got to do this, this, going to do this. And at the same time, let’s erode your material security on every level. Right? All of us small business owners. The middle-class just, just, just pull that out from under them. Right. So they can’t even think too much about what’s going on and what, what this messaging is about, and whether it makes sense or not. Make them so desperate to be holding onto their survival.
And then just change the game again. And then change it again! Masks, no masks, goggles, six feet, three feet you know, no school, school, no school. School. I mean, this is so clearly designed to screw with everybody’s sanity, right? So there’s an onslaught, certainly, from all sides. But you know, we talked before we got on camera about kind of keeping your path to some degree in, in focus. You have one, what was yours?
“Row, Row, row your boat, gently down the stream.” You’re rowing it. Anyway, go ahead. Do your thing.
You’re rowing your boat down the stream. You don’t know what’s around the bend. You don’t know what’s around the next bend. You don’t know what boulders are coming up. You don’t know what currents are changing. You don’t know what the weather is going to do. You just got to keep rowing forward. Right. and along with the current, right, you don’t even have to go against the current and that’s a key.
But finding the current you want to be in and having a destination, right.
Having a destination. Yeah. So, and I, I said, actually, what comes up in my mind, I realized is, is the video game “Pitfall” that I, I loved playing when we were young. And I do look at life to some degree like that. It’s like a video game. I mean, there’s, there’s, there’s pros and cons to video games, but that lesson, I think, is a helpful one, is to realize that it’s, it’s a story, right. We’re in a story. Right. And, and, and how’s our story going to end? Our story, every great story has obstacles and tragedies and triumphs and testing and, examination. It’s a hero’s journey. Right? So, so what’s the goal. I think in this spellbound world, I think that one of our goals is to, I mean, it goes without saying, to remain in alignment with oneself, one’s being, one’s soul, one’s purpose, one’s destiny. With courage. And another part of the goal is to find each other. There are a lot of us here. There are a lot of us in this, story. And we all understand that we need to reach the end of our story intact. And so, because when, when we also find each other, the spell, gets weaker and weaker and weaker. When, when I’m sitting there with five other women who, you know, we come from very different backgrounds, we all see it. We see it clearly. We see the spell. We’re, you know, it seems like, you know, people seem insane, but we see the spell. So when we are sitting around a table or a river or whatever it is with others who can see beyond that spell and see the spell for what it is, we weave something else together that is much stronger than this spell.
Because back to this collectivism versus individual, and like you hit on, we do need our community, our community, and this fabric, this fabric of the human souls that are all here. We are connected, part of a one, but we are also individuals within that fabric. So we need to not isolate ourselves. On the contrary. We need to find each other to keep strengthening that fabric until that spell dissolves.
Like a dust bomb. I think we need to wrap up, but the other part I just wanted to say is like, in the end of Row, row, your boat” it’s “life is but a dream.” And so the waking up in this dream, the spell, it’s waking up, stay awake in it. So the more we can stay awake in the spell, it strengthens the awakeness for, for everything, right. For each other, for all of it, you know, to be awake in the dream, I think is a lot of the goal.
Yes. And the dream, the dream spell, I mean, Sacha Stone uses that all the time. It’s the dream spell. Yeah. And I’m hearing more and more folks call it a spell. I mean, different doctors some brilliant minds that are out there publicly, looking around and saying, “it’s like, it’s as if my colleagues are under some spell,” so that’s fascinating. So this, this term is actually making its way more and more surfacing into our consciousness. That it’s a spell.
It is. And it’s you know, and thinking of, I don’t know if this is even worth saying, but I guess a kid growing up, hearing that the Age of Aquarius is coming and we’re in this, this turning point. It’s like, you know, while we each have our challenges, there is something so palpably happening to our consciousness right now. It’s like, it’s like the fricking bootcamp, you know, is kind of what we’re in, in a way, kicking in hard, it’s coming in fast. And you know, let’s get tethered to ourselves, to our destiny, to our purpose. Cause it’s, cause it’s, it’s now, or it’s, it feels like it’s now or never, you know, here it is. So, so we’re working to, to wake up, to stay awake, you know? Stay awake and to, and to, and to raise it up with, you know, love, love, love our connection, our real connection, and then connection to self and connection to God, you know?
Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. So just, yeah, for anybody who bothers you look at this, it’s like, we’re here, we see it too. You’re not alone. And there are so many, and I’ll tell you what, there’s a lot more here in Texas than there are in California or Oregon or whatever. So just get out of the West Coast if you can. It’s crazy. It’s crazy. It’s like, it’s, it’s like a different reality of, of, of mind and consciousness. What a breath of fresh air. It’s like, wow. Humanity still exists.
Veronica Cardoso––Anthroposophist, artist, teacher and coach––is currently specifically interested in working with heterosexual, middle-aged men going through a mid-life crisis. She can be contacted at email@example.com.
Okay, recording in progress. We got interrupted. We’re going to have a part two of this conversation, which I’m finding fascinating. Here we are again with Veronica Cardoso, and Thea Mason and me. So Veronica, we were talking about, why don’t you, why don’t you phrase what you’re seeing as the issue, first of all, and how we, how we address it and where we go from here.
We were there in the shell, in this hardened shell. We’re observing that society’s operating out of this shell, out of these hardened dead concepts of right and wrong and of real and unreal, of you versus me, and this lack of curiosity, this lack of interest in the other, this lack of interest and curiosity in the other. Because this hardening, this lack of curiosity, I have found that there’s been somehow in this hardening of ideas, a lack of fostering of an inner landscape, of a spiritual architecture that allows us to––even if the world’s moving fast and we’re getting all these attacks or all of this information––we have that space to slow down within us and take it back, and take a look at things as they’re happening and not be such in a flash and ready to go out, right? It’s like those little children that you can observe in the playground that are running with their chest fast-forward and their feet are almost left behind. Right? We want, we want to go in there in the middle. And there’s a big angst these days to be with oneself. So there’s an interesting phenomenon where I find myself when I come up against you. It’s a rubbing of the, as you said, how did you say it of this generation, that arrested development. Because as you, when you play games with the middle schoolers, one of the most important games is to wrestle, come against each other. And that’s very human, but we need to grow out of it.
Right. Fascinating. So this susceptibility and tendency toward identity politics, political identity, racial identity, sexual orientation identity, which is just one facet of anyone, right? So it’s like, why would we identify ourselves by just that one thing, when we’re so much more. But so then the need to make the other wrong and not just, not just even make them wrong, maybe not even quietly and internally being like “uh…,” But like being way out here and having to cancel them out, that is in essence wrestling with them so that we can discover who we are.
And it’s not wrestling with them with the centered quietness of objectivity. It’s a flailing, like you’re drowning in the sea and you’re looking for purchase. You’re looking for your lifeline rather than, “oh, I can float actually. I’m right where I am.”
Right. Well, because, I like this visual that you’re giving Veronica, which is, rather than where the goal is, to be inner centered, instead we’re out here and when we’re going up against someone else, we’re almost merging with their edge too. We’re like, we don’t know where we begin or end, and we’re kind of trying to maybe even draw something from their edge to, you know, to strengthen our edge. I don’t know, I’m not being articulate.
And also, when we’re living in a world where a lot of people don’t know where they are, I mean, and I’m on this journey and been working with this for a long time, you have people coming in to your center without knowing it. You are going into people’s center without knowing it. And we have a huge explosion of backlash when you realize you’ve been invaded, or you’ve invaded someone, because nobody is knowing how you meet them at your gate. Out of choice. And then we’re talking about the friction, like the finding in that way. Because yes, in the center, but you need to know how to be out here. So you should be able to be here. We want to be able to be here as adults, and here. So we know where the pathway is.
And then to maybe transition a little bit to what our original topic was going to be. So, you know, in simplistic terms, it’s a lot easier to find one’s center in the quiet of nature there, out of the madness and frenzy certainly of the urban life, the scheduled life, the American…
Yeah, right. Totally. Exactly. And so we were sharing before this, again, each one of us, we all to one degree or another fled California’s crazy. Certainly surrounding, and even more so when all this last year hit, and we each sought different places for different reasons. And, what I was observing to Thea a few days ago, and then with you guys a little bit was that it took a year…so I, I spent the last year in very remote Idaho near the Montana border. We had actually planned to leave the country, and listed our house two days before Newsom’s first shelter in place––and all of our plans changed. But we had planned to leave the country because we thought in that bubble of Marin, you know, of San Francisco Bay area, it was hard to conceive that it could be that different anywhere else in the country. I’m fortunate to have discovered by all these turns of events that there are some really cool places in much of the rest of the country outside California. But you know, I’m still processing the change that I’ve gone through, having been out of there. And one of the observations that I had made and had was that I didn’t know I was living with a kind of low level anxiety all the time back there, in all of my interactions with everyone in the world and in my community, that I couldn’t exactly trust people to be responsible for themselves and in possession of themselves.
So that I didn’t really trust wholly what they were saying to me, not because I thought they were lying, but because I didn’t think they were even fully aware of what they were saying to me, what they were committing to, what they promised to do, whatever it was, right? Minor or major things. Living where I was living this last year, where people––I mean, Veronica, you were talking about this, right? Like the difference between people who live where their survival depends on their word, right? Their honor, their relationships, their true relationships with their neighbors, the reliability…
A real network.
Their reliability to their neighbors and on their neighbors, all of that.
And to their surroundings.
Absolutely. To the earth, their true investment in the land, in their trees, in how well they maintain the shrubbery around the house, whatever. The snow, the snow and everything. So it’s like, I woke up just a few weeks ago realizing this, like, “oh my gosh, I got accustomed to not second guessing people too much, really taking them at their word,” which shouldn’t be so remarkable, but it was living there in that area of California that we lived.
Well, and also part of that is the suing culture, like, you know, they have signs at playgrounds that say “no running” because they don’t want…
The litigious culture. Yes.
Well, because when you have money, right? That goes hand in hand with moneyed areas. Litigiousness. That’s one thing for sure that hat’s a go-to. If somebody wrongs you, you sue them, or if you simply perceive you are wronged, you sue them. Not to mention a culture, a state, that has every single protection in place for every person so that they really don’t have to be responsible for themselves if they are wronged. If they are wronged, here’s this measure, this measure, this measure, this measure that they can take to file their grievance. And, you know, obviously there are balances in protections of citizens. But when you give them everything so that they don’t have to even think twice about being responsible really for themselves, that doesn’t set them up very well. That doesn’t help them develop a kind of core, you know, of integrity.
I mean, you know, like I’m going all over the place, I guess, but I’m just thinking about how, when I first was working there, I remember one employee, I don’t even think they showed up. Like they just, all of a sudden didn’t show up for a certain time they were supposed to be there. And it was because they had a therapy appointment and, you know, and I’m getting on them for not having shown up. And they don’t even realize that they were irresponsible, but especially because it was a therapy appointment, that’s supposed to be excused.
Well, I think as we travel with that, bringing it a little bit back to this picture of the inner landscape, that’s where that core lies. And so if there’s not the incentive, in a way, in your world out here to know where that center is, or that core is––and then the shell is hard––how do you even get there? How do you even find, or what’s the point, how do we get drawn into finding that core center to be self-responsible and to have the ability to be objective and have engagement with another that’s true and good.
(Interruption) Can you go back Veronica to what your thoughts and theory is about World War One, the beginning of the cancellation of a heterosexual male, as archetype, at least?
Well, I’m ust going to start with, there’s a great book called “The Boy Crisis.” And, he speaks, they both speak (two writers) but I’m going to connect it to something that happened back then with the book, because men, because of war they’re out of the home, they’re out of the father, they’re pushed out of a leading holding. And it’s not that the women don’t hold and don’t lead, but there’s two very different energies. The mom is introducing and drawing us into the world, right? The mom can, can bring in a storm and clear out the waters. The dad can as well. Or the father can as well bring down the storm, but the father energy brings it differently. The father energy gives temper like an on and off switch. And I remember my father with this word that it’s “enough.”
And my mother and I would be in this dance, “but yes, but no, but you said, but I said…” The mother gives us a lot of our social. Right? But my father would be annoyed at us bickering at each other at the dinner table. And he would just say the word, “Enough.”And that was enough, for both of us. It was, as you say, right, it’s this, it was the entering of the Pope. Zip it. And it wasn’t like, “shut up. You can’t say anything.” You’re not going anywhere. So it’s enough. And take a hold of yourself again. And there’s so many different things that we learned from the father and we learned from the mother.
Well, it’s why men are great leaders of organizations. Right? And in my opinion, more suited to that top dog position. Not that women aren’t leaders in their own way, but men are more naturally in their element in that capacity of just laying down the line. Agreed. Though, I would say a little bit of my question is just, I’m curious why World War I in particular? Thea had said when we were off camera, something about the mechanization? Because the war has been going on for time immemorial, as far as we understand. So why World War I?
I don’t know. And I’m just going to throw out that the mechanization changed the quality of fighting, frankly. I mean, one, it was more atrocious and there were so many deaths and the enormity of it. Two, there’s more distance now between you and your foe, right? I don’t know, I’m just throwing ideas out because I don’t know.
Well that’s the big question right now, right? Like where did that cancellation begin? And maybe someone will comment and say, you guys are completely out of it. It was in 1590. I don’t know.
It occurs to me, I mean, it’s the industrialization. You know, in the same way that the Amish––I never really understood, I don’t know much about the Amish, but I remember learning not long ago that the reason they don’t drive automobiles is in order to ensure that the husband and father can’t work far from the home. So, you know, when we were an agrarian society, and we’re there on our farms, our ranches our land, the father was there. But with industrialization, that takes the father outside the home to go to work. Which also is interesting too, leads me to speculate that this whole––and I don’t even like to call it COVID nonsense, because COVID didn’t cause all of this, lock downs and everything, people did, the governments and all that.
But so all of those lockdowns caused many men to be working from home, back at home with their families all the time. So I wonder what’s going to result from that too. Huh? Maybe something good. Maybe a lot of good stuff can come out of that mess.
So, yeah. So I thought maybe you were also saying just on the scale of the war, the first world war, which resulted in untold deaths, well not untold, but just so many more deaths of men, fatherless children, fatherless families. For that entire generation.
And then where the woman was placed––and that is the single mom. And it’s not that I financially have had to be a single mom, I’ve I’ve had the financial support of the fathers, yet I’ve lived in the home by myself, with my children. And that every day, and that everyday holding and that everyday routine and they everyday conversation and all the habits and everything one has to produce by oneself. And not only the habits and the education and the forming and the this, but now I need to be mother and now I need to be father. So there’s a breaking in me as well. There’s a type of bipolarity that needs to be managed within myself to reproduce something artificially. So I mean, just this word, mechanization, even in those inner systems, we have been mechanized to reproduce artificial things that, for that––in those archetypes, in those ancient archetypes that we know by instinct that are so important––when there’s a lack of it, we’re still reproducing them in so many ways.
So in the reproduction of the father system within my mother, it’s an appreciation, a saying yes to how important the two roles and the father is. I mean so many things to talk about with the father and the man. But where do we as educators, how can we support now the new generation of boys that are coming as a canceled individual? And I’m going to say the unpopular––so one of my other worries in society right now is these young babies, even, the babies of white, heterosexual males that are coming into this world right now, and they are coming into a world of being canceled already. And I can hear the shouting already of many people listening to me. And I’m going to respond to that screaming that I can hear with this little story. I have a friend that, randomly because of genetics, she’s a white woman and the husband randomly by genetics, he’s a white man. Beautiful people, farmers, marketers, beautiful people. And she lives in LA and she works the Santa Monica market. So she’s in it. And they just had a baby. By genetics, a white baby, a boy baby. And he’s super cute. And one of the comments that she was sharing with me that she receives constantly is, “Oh, another one of those.”
Oh, oh my God!
“One of those, white hetero males. You had one of those?” So, and these are people that love her, and these are people that see her in the market. And these are people that they think because they’re in a good movement, that is something appropriate to say, or even funny. So it is, it is a real thing for me to––and I’m not popular at any table when I talk about this––
You’re just in the wrong state.
Wrong table. Let’s turn those tables.
Exactly, some tables. I’m very popular, but most tables, many tables, I rub the wrong corner. So what are we as teachers, as mothers, as fathers, as society, what are we doing to prepare men to be men and men to be healthy men and in a way, save masculinity because it’s under attack.
And therefore save our world.
Well, I want to say what I had said off camera with you, Anne, briefly, is that that picture of canceling the hetero male with industrialization to a certain degree has allowed us to be in this place of lack of self responsibility. Of, “it’s out here” rather than. “Enough!” Just in terms of one of the ingredients lacking. And I don’t think we need to clarify, we’re not talking about being a toxic male. Really, that’s a wounded male. But you know, to be masculine, to be able to step into and to draw upon the archetype of masculinity so that females that want to feel feminine can, also.
Because we want to.
We want to!
Even those of us who have, like Veronica was saying, we’ve been, we were raised to be
Yeah. Right, right. And, and, you know, I’m 50 years old and I’m still working on recognizing how good it feels when my husband takes something over that I don’t even have to think about. You know, I’m a professional woman. I’ve worked in the world successfully and have navigated all of the worldly, administrative, financial tasks in the world. So I’m, I can be good at it. I don’t particularly love doing it. And, you know, and it’s nice to just relinquish certain things so that I can focus on other things that also need attending, especially as a homeschooling mother. Or just mother. So, yeah. So, okay. So this has been long, and we totally went a different direction than we planned, but it’s been great.
We’re just talking about the weather.
You’re just still hanging on to that one, huh? We’ll see about that title.
Speaking about the weather, in trying to just close with the other topic, but within the topic in itself, my strongest experience of being outside of LA is––outside of LA because my partner was in LA and I was in San Diego, so it was LA and San Diego for me––but outside of that jab, a, a constant jab, a constant, “oh, are you Mexican? Or are you native American?” And it’s truly being in a place where the weather is very real because it’s not artificial. It’s not held by a city. It’s not held by liability. It’s not held by the dad, by Uncle Sam. It’s just us in a home with neighbors, with a micro-community in a way. And all the survival and all these things have to have a play. But I, as a mover, as a seeker, as a migrating being––I don’t know why I have that impulse, I’ve just had it––the further I’ve gone from my hometown, the less I have time to do biographical work with my neighbors. And those come. Slowly. But because we can’t talk about the drama of auntie Vanessa and whatever, we end up talking about the weather. And how much it rained or how much it didn’t rain, or, what is the season in comparison to last year? And what I’ve noticed is that through speaking about our perception of the weather, we end up using it as an analogy of how we are feeling. And talking about the weather, which is so funny in sophisticated cities, it’s always used as like, “oh, I feel so superficial. We talked, like, about the weather.” My experience of talking about the weather has been such a connecting moment. ‘Cause we’re connecting. Because it’s not about your political stance or my political stance or this and that or whatever. It’s like, “you have ideas. Guess what? Me too.” And we can share one thing. The weather.
And it’s because we can, we can be curious about each other, but as well, we can be curious together. And these are two beautiful geometries, right? The line. And the triangle. Where we’re like, “Oh, how are you? Good. How are you? Good.”
“How are you?”
“And how are you both?”
And objectively speak about something that connects. And that is for me, beyond. We need to find connectiveness and things to practice it. Is it weather? Is it the carpentry is it sports, whatever is. But we’re so insisting, and I say, the society is so insisting in finding the place of disconnect, where the activity should be the contrary.
What connects us. Yeah. We strengthen what connects us.
Oh, “you’re a toxic male.” If that’s the case.
Well I’m a toxic female!
Me too! I think I am even a toxic male as well. I mean, I’m such a macho asshole.
Totally, totally. Absolutely. I love that. Yeah. Well you really, you really went to bat for her on that one,Veronica. We’ll consider using that as the title. But no, I totally get that. I love that. And you know, in the same way that, this entire cancel culture, identity politics culture also focuses on our differences rather than our similarities. And similarities doesn’t mean we have to be the same, but more similar perspective, similar…I mean our humanity, right? We’re all human beings, right? And that’s what I had observed too, and maybe this is part of it, but when we’re not perceiving through a lens of sexism, racism, whatever ism, then we can simply be human beings. And when human beings are regarding each other as human beings and treating each other as human beings, the result is humanity.
All right. Well till next time, this was so fun. I do wish I was up there with you. Actually I wish you guys were here.
Maybe we’ll make that happen somehow.
We will. All right. Let’s say goodbye to the audience.
Veronica Cardoso––Anthroposophist, artist, teacher and coach––is currently specifically interested in working with heterosexual, middle-aged men going through a mid-life crisis. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This conversation wasn’t the one we intended to have, but that’s what it turned into. And we laughed a lot throughout:)
PART 2 IS AVAILABLE BELOW, but will also be posted separately when its transcript is complete:
TRANSCRIPT OF PART 1:
Okay, folks. Hello. It’s been a while. Here I am with Thea Mason and Veronica Cardoso. So is that right? And Veronica and Thea are there in Oregon. I’m actually currently in Texas. We’ve all been all over a lot this past year. And before we begin, Veronica, would you tell us a little bit about your background, who you are? I know you’re a Waldorf person, a bit of an anthroposophical scholar, an artist, but just give us a little background please.
A two minute quickie? Okay.
Which means different things in different situations. My husband might think something different!
Mine too! Especially in the laundry area. So yeah, I want to talk about the birth because, you know, being born in the U.S., it reappears then in my life. I was born in Austin, Texas then grew up in Mexico City. Grew up, prepared to work as an artist, then left Mexico City to live in a rural place called Chapala–woods and lake. And was a little bit pushed out of this––what was the word––utopia, of this utopia? Through the violence of the narco war in those years in Mexico. Had my ticket, which was this American citizenship that I had never considered to be important and migrated to California.
How old were you then?
And I mean, one of the biggest jokes of my identity growing up was that I was a dry front instead of a wet back. My father loved to say that, because I was an American immigrant going into Mexico illegally. I grew up as an illegal America in Mexico City. Finally, I come back to my country and into California. And the only real part of America that I knew was Texas. So I was very used to a very different America.
And where in California did you land?
I landed in San Diego and studied Waldorf after many years of studying Anthroposophy, prepared to be a teacher, worked as a teacher, and left because of COVID. And I am rethinking, well through COVID had to rethink of what I wanted to do. If I wanted to, you know, work with masks and all this, which I said, absolutely no, I can’t and migrated again to Oregon, to the middle of the forest to continue my anthroposophical journey and studies to become a teacher of adults––trying to bring that deep philosophy in practical, everyday tools for the mother, the spouse, a child mother, conflict resolution, mediating in this different tools that Steiner called “The Seven Steps of Initiation.”
So in other words, bringing it to the householder without having to go through the many years of scholarly study to be able to grasp some of it. Yeah. Which is great. And I’m understanding that you are teaching this also online. You have online courses?
I have online students and work with individuals. Right now, the age group that I’m working with are 25 to 27, mainly. And mothers are, are very popular. I’m very interested and I am trying to find people of this group that are middle age men, which I’m very interested––in heterosexual––I’m going to even be more specific––heterosexual, middle-aged men that are going through it. That are going through their middle-age crisis in this world right now. And I’m, I’m very curious. And I’ve been seeing these characters come ask questions. No? And I’ve had, I’ve had a contact with this crisis and, and it’s really one of my biggest curiosities right now of what is that the substance of, of what that man of 45, 50 years old right now is going through. Because it’s a huge bridge, the world right now. For them.
And there’s so many things I actually want to ask, so I want to ask a question about that crisis in a minute first, but before we do, so if people were interested in contacting you to perhaps learn from you, you would be open to that?
So I’m going to, we’ll put your details in the comments, or, you know, when we put this on, on the Sacred Osiris website and the YouTube site. Okay. So that’s interesting, the middle aged male’s crisis. So do you think, or have you found that, that men didn’t used to go through this crisis, this period of this middle-age crisis, I guess until modern, recent times?
I mean, I think it’s, it’s very old. I saw my father go through it. I saw my father not being able to cross the bridge in the nineties, in the early nineties. I think he was hit with a whole lot of technology with the new language. And they’re uncared, for me, men are very uncared for, and it’s a very unpopular opinion. And they’re very uncared for in their processes, in their coming of age, it doesn’t exist anymore. So by the time that they come to this middle age, I feel them fussy. I feel them like, “eh, eh, eh.” And I’m wondering, what is it that they’re asking, and what can we do to bring that to them, in this age where it’s––for me, I can even sense sometimes like even a toddler, “I want it and I want it now!” “You’re an idiot, and you’re an idiot…” And for me, that’s a call for help.
That’s a call for landing in oneself. And I think there are––and this isn’t talked about too much in many circles–– there are a lot of groups of men coming together right now, Mankind Project, and a few other things where men are realizing what they have not had through their lifetimes and are holding spaces for men to come together and go, what does it mean to be a man right now? And how can we own our being here on earth and our journey in life and how can we show up for our family and our communities in real ways, you know? And that’s the conversation that we can go through so much more as, as people have moved away from church and religion, without these guideposts and different community elders or whatever. It’s like, they’re lost at sea.
Yeah, I mean, and definitely without traditional rites of passage, milestones for men. But the thing that––I know we weren’t planning on talking about this––but the thing that first strikes me and has struck me is just, I mean, we’ve all been with men, and men just like women can be childish, but men can definitely be childish. And it strikes me that it is really it’s the duty of the woman with that man to help them grow up. I mean, we’ve all seen our men encountering the challenges of life, challenges of becoming a parent. And how obviously scary that is for them, and I’m trying to be better and not so critical of the women in this society, but whether or not it’s a failing of those men’s mothers, which I do think largely is that. I mean, I think that the last couple of generations at least had been raised by grown-up children in a way, right? A lot of, lot of the women, even the 70 year olds that you’re going to meet somewhere along their traumas in childhood, they were arrested. That development. And so there’s still little girls crying at the drop of a hat, that never grew into themselves to be able to be these strong women who are like, “Nope, here’s what you do, my son, this is how you become a man. And, and here my husband, this is what a man means.” So, it’s complex.
I just want to add in just quickly in that. Like yes, to the women and yes to this is is part of that disassembling of our societal holding, cultural holding of one another, that hasn’t been there to guide. We we’ve been hijacked through these movements that have––we’ve talked about feminism, not that they don’t have seeds of truth and goodness. And like every movement we’ve talked about gets hijacked and we’re robbed more of what makes us family and guideposts to one another. And, I don’t know if I can communicate it properly, but I have two dogs right now, and I’m learning a lot about human beings through watching these two beings that have come into the world in very different ways. And when we talk about men hitting these different ages or women or whatever, when we as people are held from our own exploration and development of our inner landscape, we then tend to feel robbed and bitter at what’s outside there, because we haven’t had our wells filled up with our own development of our inner landscape.
And a big word for me right now is canceled. What, what it is to be canceled. And the more that I want to say that to be canceled is a new activity, it is a big activity and alarming, the way that we’re handling it right now, because social media explodes everything. Yet I was asking myself yesterday, “When was the heterosexual male canceled?” Twenties, thirties? When did that happen? When did that cancellation of them start, and how, I mean, I totally understand that male toxicity, but the one that I really understand is the female toxicity because I have to dismantle that in me constantly. I have to dismantle my feminist that my father, you know, “Cut them off! You cut them off.” I had these scissors made for me, just to caught off their balls and just be done with it, you know? So I have to dismantle that in myself to be fair, to be in service of the male and to be able to then commune and receive the male. And when was that heterosexual male canceled. And in the school system, in every single layer you don’t receive, you are severed off the fountain of growth.
Yeah. I know this wasn’t what we were going to talk about, but Thea and I, we’ve talked about it, but not in this depth. And not looking at it from these angles.
We’ve talked more aa mothers to sons, in seeing this, too. But this is definitely rich.
I know. When did they, when did they start getting canceled? And Veronica, when you’re saying twenties, thirties, you mean 1920s, 1930s. Is that what you’re saying? Do you think so?
With the wars. The World Wars.
When you talk about having lived through a patriarchy, I mean, men have had it really hard. Not a popular opinion.
No, not, but I think less unpopular than the media wants you to believe. Right?
That’s the other topic.
It’s another topic. So, okay. Well, I don’t know, do we want to keep talking about this? I mean, Veronica, do you want to add a little bit more insight that you have into it from an anthroposophical perspective?
Well, yeah, that would be a great jump outside, like to bridge into what we’re here to (talk about.) Because we come back to finding ourselves or being human. And we harm each other in our communities, for Millennials, for the evident stamp that we have of gender, of color, you know, all these things and we cancel something. “Oh, you’re too big. I don’t want to be little. Then I cancel you. I sever you. I hurt you. I fight you.” Instead of being, “oh, wow, there’s a bigger person here. Let me open up and listen.”
And be inspired by their bigness to become big myself.
Exacto. Or, “Oh, wow, I’m with a smaller person. I’m bigger. Let me be a good elder. What am I going to produce? What am I going to consume?” And that dance and that relaxation comes by, I would say, curiosity in the other person, true meeting of the other. And I don’t know how somehow I would even say this craziness, but curiosity kind of now comes as the counterpart of fear. Because if we live in fear, then you’re a toxic male, then you’re a white whatever. Then you’re a slave descendent. I mean, I don’t know. All these labels appear out of fear and other things in history and whatever. I’m not going to cancel that either, but we, in this time. Where we’re pulling in that’s I feel still out of the fear, out of the trauma, out of unresolved issues. When, if we meet the man with with interest, what does this human being need? This woman, what do they need? And, it’s like let’s be Joan of Arc without the bandana. Traves? Como?
Bandana? Joan of Arc with the bandana?
The flag, the flag!
Oh, the banner, the banner. Got it.
Without that etiquette, like “what is there without putting myself out there” could be the start of a lot of understanding and shedding of the fear of.
And I want to add one thing if this makes sense. When she was giving the picture of someone who’s got a big presence, and someone who’s feeling a little contracted––I mean, that’s the, “don’t make your candle brighter by blowing someone else’s out.” Right? And with the big candle, this is something I have talked about, it’s like, how do we, when we’re feeling big and we’re in a fullness of ourselves, allow space for someone else to experience their own fullness as well, because that’s there too. Not that we get smaller, but that there’s the allowing and that holding of a space for, and that comes with interest. That’s a way we, we encourage. I’m mean, I’m thinking of as a parent with our kid, what are the dynamics we work with to draw them into, or out of their box a little bit.
It’s the shells. And those, Steiner would call them dead concepts. They’re dead. It’s a dead end. They’re not fertile places, but we have so many of those. Dead concepts versus the curiosity, the opening, the fertile. No?
Yeah. What strikes me too, is that when I think of all this, the identity politics, that’s a plague now, perpetuated by the media and the divisive puppet masters, I’d say, when I think of the different factions and groups who are embracing a victim mentality, and finding a villain to target, to attack, to cancel, when I then think about this, this word that you talk about, “the counterpart to fear is curiosity,” when we are curious, where we are curious about people, we have to be––not just have to be––but we’re not self-absorbed, right? We’re not, we’re not inside ourselves when we’re curious about someone else. We kind of expand outside ourselves in being curious about someone and kind of seeking to understand them, to interact and engage with their being.
So like you say, I mean, I’m just kind of echoing what you’re saying, but I’m understanding it now. This shell, this shell of self absorption is like a traumatized child or something that just doesn’t know how to get outside of it. Right? So what do we do for those folks who are caught in this cancel culture cult of identity, where they’re seeing the other as a villain, any other as a villain? I want to help those men who are victims of the “Me too” craziness, but how do we help the ones who are victimizing them?
It makes me think of, have interest in the villains in the fairytales. Like learn the qualities of each of the characters, not only the villain, but all of this, starting with the other, we start there, I start with, where are you? What do you need? What are you thinkig? Interest, I mean, that’s what Steiner talks about. Interest. Interest is love. And that’s how we transform these dead ends, because fear and cutting you off takes us nowhere.
It’s an end game. Right?
And we’ve seen, you know, the eighties and the nineties and the two thousands, and we’ve seen this culture grow into what we’re in the pit that we’re now in of the wrong. “You’re wrong!” Versus my opinion and your opinion, and versus truly being scientific and thinking out loud, thinking life. And there’s very little spaces to think live because we need to be liked. And sometimes when I’m thinking loud and live, it’s not a prefab and it’s going to come out because words, what we bring from the unseen that is our consciousness into the material––It’s messy! Because language is so limited in what we truly access. But then there’s this dance culture of likeability, because if you’re not liked, you’re out.
(PART 2 TRANSCRIPT WILL BE POSTED SEPARATELY UPON COMPLETION)
“Imbue thyself with the power of imagination.” Our conscious participation is essential to manifest the Christ Consciousness. Rise to our soul’s responsibility.
Okay. Thea, we’re recording now. Hi.
And so we want to cover a lot and we’re going to want to do it in like 20 minutes. And we want to get a bit deep and real, and I’m going to open though with a kind of more personal mundane perspective on what I want to get into. We are each going through various situations in our lives that seem to be revealing, more starkly, patterns that are not serving us. And we’ve each witnessed many of our friends, family, and associates going through a similar kind of what I call it, a bit of a dark night of the soul, where, you know, I mean, throughout our lives, these patterns emerge that we have an opportunity to recognize, put language on and work through and try to heal, try to repattern.
And I think we’ve each done that to more or less degree, but it almost seems like it’s accelerated right now where perhaps what hasn’t been addressed or “pushed into the past,” as Paul Tillich says, maybe those are now just really just rearing their head. We’re being given this opportunity in a kind of more compact time to just knock them out of the park and, and come out the other side. And I say this with an awareness of a larger cosmic and human event taking place on a more macro level.
This, this past year has been enormous for everyone. Existential fear, existential threat has been perceived by most of us, whether or not we are afraid of a virus––which I’m not––or afraid of tyranny, which is more my concern, or afraid of an increasing evidence of cult programming among human beings around us, or more and more and more. There are many, many different things we can choose to focus on and be fearful of. I think that this is coinciding with what many people in many Christian denominations would suggest is End Times, or whether you go by the Mayan calendar, or moving into a different age astrologically, or more. I mean, we’ve touched on this a bit, But we are in a moment in time, a very significant moment in time. And we have an opportunity now, and I want to share my insight. I am right now, living in an area very different than the area I moved from. There are many people here who are followers of one sect, denomination of Christianity or another. And I’m witnessing folks being very aware of the significant time we’re in, but who from my outside perspective seem to be awaiting an external event to steward them out of the darkness.
And I think that is missing the mark. If that is the focus. I, as you, as folks who are familiar with us know, we are, informed by a lot of Rudolf Steiner’s insights, lectures, and writings, and the way he presents it is that the––so let me back up, people are awaiting the return of Jesus Christ, the Lord Jesus Christ. Right? So Steiner explains that humanity has the opportunity to manifest the Christ in the Etheric, rather than..go ahead. Would you help me?
Just maybe instead of going directly like that, but more that humanity has the tools to work with the Christ impulse as we are, but it takes the will to do so. So we have to direct that action. But we are responsible. We have been given that––as humanity’s state now––to have the Christ impulse within us, as well as outside of us. And that’s where the importance of the relationship of each human being to the greater whole of humanity and the cosmic order, that relationship and directed action is essential. And that’s what I think you’re saying. You’re seeing and hearing a sleepiness, a childlikeness––which we’re all––I’ll speak for myself, waking from. There is this waking up into my own tasks and my responsibility, but that it is mine. It’s not going to come to me or directly lead me. I must seek it. I must take a step and it will come to meet me when I’m doing that work of creating the movement of, with my will and with will itself.
Yes. And perhaps that’s the distinction that I am seeking to articulate. That it is––I believe it is––more than just being a good Christian or, or good Muslim, good Jew, good person, good atheist. I believe that it is requiring a consciousness, uh, of our, of our responsibility in bringing this event about, and, and I don’t want to get too literal about what the event is, but I do think it’s an actualization of our true human nature. And I believe, see, we have a unique perspective as human beings in relation to the divine beings. We have entered matter in such a way that provides a unique perspective, and we can bring it through that perspective of perceiving through matter, and through the intellect, the very heavy intellect that we have developed as a result of our material inhabitation. We have the remarkable opportunity to recognize our eternal nature in that temporal matter.
New Speaker (09:30):
I want to add something if you don’t mind, please, to your stream, because I’ve been thinking about this and we’ve been talking about it, there’s this––what is it when you’re saying this developed intellect, if I’m not missing it, but the idea that the intellect is not bound to our head, right? It’s not severed from every other perceiving aspect of our humanness. And I feel like it’s important because I think an old view of our intellect, or maybe just a lost view–– maybe it’s not old, I don’t know––because what about our humanness that’s so individual or so necessary for this evolution of the Involution is, is that we are thinking, perceiving. Thinking is not just of the head, I guess that’s all I’m trying to say.
Are you talking about Aristotelian logic as intellect?
No, I don’t think, I mean, I don’t know what I’m thinking of. Exactly. Just that true intelligence, intellect is not just of the head thinking. It is of the wholeness of perceiving and understanding that we are keenly designed to do.
Well, that’s the intelligence. Right? And my understanding is that because we have had this, have this experience, on the material plane, there s a danger in separating the intelligence from the intellect and that, in order to merge that again, to be in communion with the intelligence, we have to infuse our intellect with spirit. But that doesn’t come in the same manner it came perhaps 2000 years ago, 600 years ago, 150 years ago. It has, it requires more consciousness on our part to infuse that intellect with spirit and to see the spiritual, see the divine in matter in the material world around us.
Which also includes us.
Exactly. Well, exactly! Our divine being or eternal being is inhabiting matter right now. So we’re getting heady and abstract and who knows who’s going to even follow any of this. But what I’m recognizing is, so maybe how about you read that Terence McKenna quote that you were sharing with me?
Sure. Yeah. This, this quote I have come back to again and again, through different stages of life. And it continues to resonate, exponentially. “Nature loves courage. You make the commitment and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles. Dream the impossible dream, and the world will not grind you under, it will lift you up. This is the trick. This is what all these teachers and philosophers who really counted––who really touched the alchemical gold––this is what they understood. This is the shamanic dance in the waterfall. This is how magic is done. By hurling yourself into the abyss and discovering it’s a feather bed.” And we as a whole society right now are on this ledge, or walking to this ledge of, of all of the structures that we have grown into filling and functioning within are cracking and crumbling and dissembling. And we must, I think simply imbue these structures with this divine nature of each human, that we each hold, to transform what we’re living and seeing.
And what I realized as you were reading that quote is hat’s faith. So, you know, don’t, don’t misperceive what faith is, right? Faith is a belief in possibility really, right? It’s even a belief in the impossibility, right? And that guards against fear.
Well it’s because it is strengthening courage. It is, it takes courage to have faith because there’s a moment of unseeing of not seeing or not the tangibility it’s intangible in a moment.
Yeah. Yeah. It’s intangible, which is all the more reason. I mean, gosh, it’s like so many conversations I can think of to go tangent on. Okay. I’m thinking about the fact that that’s why it’s very important to recognize how limiting, the purely material vision is. You come up against how narrowing, how narrowing it is, whether it is allowing your intellect to override your instinct and intuition and imagination. If you let your intellect do that, you can spiral just into the smaller and smaller and smaller points of being that in my experience leads to a more fearful, anxious state of existence.
Well, it’s a contraction. So, so that’s exactly what that is. And we’ve all experienced that at some point, right?
Totally! In many levels and capacities of our lives. And of course I can see where, you know, this crazy, seriously insane obsession with this like, these flying germs that are to be feared. When, when you are focusing your fear into this tiny little concept, it’s neverending the measures that you’re going to try to take to safeguard yourself against it. It’s just, it’s reductivism at its absolute insane possibility, but whatever. I mean, whatever, we’ve all got our stuff and we all came in for a reason with this. And we’re all facing our fears in different ways. The key is to face it with consciousness. And, let me just read this, this one thing I’ve shared with you from Paul Tillich’s “The Eternal Now.” He said, “This is what ‘last judgment’ means––to separate in us, as in everything, what has true and final being from what is merely transitory and empty of true being.”
So I guess I just kind of want to conclude with my understanding right now, my increasing understanding or my journey of understanding, I guess, is what I should say. I just thought of something. There’s some meme that I saw going around, that’s this picture of a butterfly sitting across the table, having coffee with a caterpillar and the caterpillar says “You’ve changed.” And the butterfly says, “We’re supposed to.” And I think to myself with that, you know, beyond that, like, “And why haven’t you?” Right? “Why haven’t you changed?” It’s very important to continue examining what we are being presented with every day. I think that we can transcend this, the fearful state of existence and bring about the Christ consciousness by recognizing our freedom to do so. The power of our thought, the fact that we now control our thoughts and consequently control our reality.
We must be conscious and put into practice anything we can to be conscious to when the fears––I’m starting just to refer to them as––when the demons try to enter. When the Ahrimanic spirits try to get in there, when the fear tries to enter, and throw us off course. Now, first off, think about this. When we are in a state of fear, we are not clear. We are certainly never at our best. I don’t think clearly when I’m in a state of fear or anxiety. Let’s just also talk about anxiety because some of our obstacles and patterns come to us as just anxieties about this or that or that, right? When we are in that state, we are somewhat paralyzed to a greater or lesser degree. Some of us are very functional in it, but still not free to dream and be our full self. So that alone should be a sign that that’s not a state of being that one should cultivate for any reason. It doesn’t mean to escape from it, by zoning out in whatever way you can zone out. But it means to recognize that those fears are our enemies. Like the FDR quote, “We have nothing to fear, but fear itself.” What were you going to say?
Well, there are a few things along the way. One, just to go to the beginning of it was with your Caterpillar meme––which I love that my friend calls it a “Memé”–– is that with that “And why haven’t you?” I would say, it’s the timing. It’s the season. And I was going to say for the change, now is the time. And so that’s one part. And then with the dynamics of anxiety and fear––which as, you know, talking about those movements of feeling that spiral into a small space to inhabit in ourselves––and we can know that when we feel anxious, we get smaller, we get tighter, which means we’re less present. And so if finding our ways to become more fully present, when those contracting energies are coming at us or coming in towards us––one of my main teachers kind of describes it as––fill up all of the spaces. That’s something we’ve spoken about. If we are not filling ourselves up, something will fill that if it’s simply a void of fear, if it’s of an unknown anxiety. So, like a glass of water, let’s fill it to the top and spill over the top so that we are like a fountain of light and fullness of being.
Yeah, you just made me realize, I mean, it’s so obvious, but fear prevents us from being present. So it kind of drives parts of ourselves out, away somewhere, into the shadows or something. So I shared with you that something I’ve been saying is my own mantra, whenever any of those things, whatever they are come in. I say, “I choose faith and freedom over fear.” And I focus on that. “I choose faith and freedom over fear. I choose faith and freedom over fear.” And it doesn’t mean that I’m going to not––at a point that I’ve moved past that initial kind of danger zone of letting the fear take hold––it doesn’t mean I’m not going to return a little more consciously and even keeled to that thought that maybe I need to address. But I’m starting to recognize this as a metaphysical battle. And I think we’re all warriors in it. And I think the sooner we all realize that, the easier time of it we’ll be having. Because kind of like, you know, a drug trip, right? When you’re having a bad drug trip and you realize, if you don’t let that take hold and you recognize that it’s something that you’ll move out of once the drug itself leaves your system, kind of the same goes. So kind of meta-conceptualize these fears, these anxieties, put them a little further away from you.
Or even turn them inside out is what I think of when a fearful habit or journey or thought, or a descent into darkness is coming in to your sphere. I have the picture of wrap it up and then turn it inside out. So it’s not even I have to push it away, but you can just turn it around. And it just made me think of the song in “Battlestar Galactica,” you know, “There must be some kind of way out of here….”
Yeah. And of course, “Battlestar Galactica” and any hero’s journey, tale, describes this beautifully and illustrates it. And by the way, of course, I’m getting the signal from my son that we went way over time. So let’s wrap it up for now.
And I’d love to conclude with the Steiner verse that many people that are familiar with Steiner are familiar with. And this is one that I work with quite a bit too, which sort of wraps it up in a nutshell.
Oh, and you know what, let me say something right before you do it. It’s not just fear. It’s not just anxiety. It’s grief, it’s sadness, it’s pain. It’s anything that we can drown in. And it doesn’t take away from the realness of that pain. The realness of that grief and struggle, it doesn’t take away from it at all, but we can separate ourselves to a degree whether it’s turning, or maybe separate ourselves, isn’t the right word. We can take it, we can be mindful of it. Let’s just be conscious of it.
Yeah. And I mean, it makes me think of, with a young animal or a young child, or anyone when fear is coming in, our gesture to dissolve it is to embrace them. Right? We give them the warmth and holding, and we can do that with ourselves too. Because you know, I haven’t thought of fear this way before, but that it needs to be held to be transformed out of that singular way of being. That it can be, it can be changed, and maybe that’s part of the opportunity. I haven’t seen it this way before right now, but with the world and people living in so many different qualities of fear that that’s really what it’s asking for. Is for us to open our arms fully and embrace it all so that it can be transformed into warmth and light and love. Which makes me want to cry a little bit. So…good old Rudolf––”Imbue thyself with the power of imagination. Have courage for the truth. Sharpen thy feeling for responsibility of soul.” And each of those lines means more and more every day. I see more in each one. So you know, this task of humanity, responsibility of soul, the courage for the truth, which means it’s a dispelling or a transforming of the fear, you know? And the power of imagination to dream the impossible dream. So we’re here together to do it, yo. And the earth, the cosmos need us to. That’s it.
So today we’re going to talk about bringing the community back into family. And this topic was triggered by a conversation we were having about, well, first of all, the ways in which the dynamic of family rhythm and really life’s rhythm has changed throughout the course of this last year and the restrictive lockdowns that have brought people to remote working and remote learning, and how much time families have suddenly found themselves spending together contiguously, continuously. And it was also triggered by a conversation we were having in which you had been observing children who seem to have difficulty taking really any direction, especially in a group context. And I had remarked at the time that I wonder if you have not had as much exposure to that as I have having been in the homeschool community for a long time and taking on a leadership role within that, where I’ve met a lot of parents who, and children who have come to homeschooling as a last ditch resort, because––and these aren’t, I’m not talking about the families who have decided that the system just wasn’t healthy or working for their child, and so decided that really the best option is homeschooling––but rather parents whose children have had so many challenges just functioning within the system, working and being in, not just the system, but in groups and have then come to look at homeschooling as an option. And the thing that I had observed to you is, because I could see the parents and children together for the course of a few hours navigating, and the parents didn’t, often don’t seem to have really any ability to exert or exercise their authority over their child, which is a necessary thing as a parent.
And from that conversation that we were having and sharing those pictures, the idea or notion that I thought of is really how throughout my time, as a parent, which has been now 21 years, the way our culture seems to have flipped the script in so many different places and tricked out of parents the freedom and the understanding that to be a parent is to be an authority, not to be an authoritarian, but to be an authority. And I think somewhere along the way, that got lost in the shifting away from the authoritarian gestures and the oppressive ways that can be seen throughout history and through different systems and through households. But without an authority in the household, no one knows where they are and no one knows who’s the captain of the ship, so to speak. And when that’s not established, children don’t know how to respond to those sorts of directions that come out of the world for their own good, for their safety, because there is this time in which children must be reared. It’s like training a dog. There is a training period so that there is safety, there’s learning social cues and social norms, which are always, something for a good discussion. And then when they come into themselves, hopefully at 21, they’re able to make true judgements because they’ve had a framework that’s allowed for a safe sphere for them to be walking within to then now navigate with their own honed judgment. So that’s a long, I don’t wind through it, but we were discussing just the, the need for authority. How do we as parents––how do we as adults––become a healthy authority for our child, for our children, for our communities, and how does that then ripple out? Because we notice when we look to the world and we look at the people in leadership, it’s not necessarily what we’re talking about. We don’t see many true authorities in our world. And so what a task to be a parent, to be a true authority with love, with compassion, with generosity, with clarity and with firmness.
Yeah, I agree. And yeah, well said. And I guess we would like to explore something to provide folks with, to work with, to think about as some, and not all, but some are struggling with this, this setup, this new dynamic and being there at home with their children. Because I think what has happened in our modern world, where we have moved away from the home base and we send our children to school, we send our children out for extracurricular activities, both parents work. Rather than a rhythm dictated by the needs of the family as a whole, it’s more of an external schedule and rhythm that’s imposed, that the family learns to work within and around. And so it’s, I think in many ways, the dynamic––especially as the children get older––of a family is, it follows the comings and goings of each person rather than the being together, consistently. And, I think we touched on this in our discussion, but the first and foremost thing that parents I think need to be comfortable with is saying “no”. And, I mean, there’s been so much kind of, psychology, exploration, examination about saying “no,” I’m sure you remember. I remember when I first had little ones that, you know, you’re supposed to design your house so that you don’t have to keep stopping them from doing things and taking things away or saying no, but you need to set it up in a safe way, so that that impulse of just the no, and the negative, doesn’t need to be inserted so much.
Well, and it’s interesting because there’s truth in that. There is. Because what that means, but it gets lost, I think, into an avoidance of saying no, rather than use your “no’s” when you mean it, like make them be real as I’m looking at training a dog, you know what I’m seeing is––it’s the positive affirmation is what trains something well. Animal, child different, but similar, especially in the early years and be very clear when there’s a “no” and be distinctive in that “no,” but you don’t want to be saying no all day, because that will have no power, you know, if that’s all that’s happening. So with that picture of building a home where you minimize the necessity for the “no’s,” that’s sensible, but it kind of can get lost in translation, I think.
And you just made me think of a friend who had described his childhood and he had described it as such that, because his parents weren’t that involved on a day-to-day level, they put a ton of restrictions in place. And so it just makes me realize, well, yes, I mean, as long as the positive input and involvement outweighs the negative, I think that’s what we should strive for. We want to avoid just being all negative and no, and limiting. But I find saying “no,” you know, yeah, there’s, a fairly regular occurrence throughout my kids’ childhood. And, I’m now realizing as we’re talking about it more, how many even friends I’ve got, who have some challenge with saying no to requests, requests that are really not even that healthy, but they feel a guilt in saying no in that way. Depriving. And I remember saying to a friend recently who had described a video game that I guess her son had requested and she had agreed to it until she realized the nature of it. And she felt it was too extreme, and changed her mind, but was kind of struggling a little bit with having said yes, and then had to take it away. And because he was also angry about that, of course, as any kid would be. And I remember saying, “you know, first off you can never go wrong by saying no to a video game. I don’t care what video game it is. Like, liberate yourself there. You know, you can really never go wrong, saying no to almost any acquisition. That is not going to damage your kid in later life.” Right? And so I think, perhaps that’s one thing. Just recognizing, it seems kind of obvious I think, but recognizing how much privilege (I hate that word, it’s been so stupidly used), but the more someone has, the less they appreciate what they have! Right? So that’s just simple. And that goes for privileges, that goes for experiences. You know, you don’t want to saturate a child with so much that they lose the value of each experience.
Absolutely. And I think with this dialogue, the other element that we had sort of pulled in through recollection of parenting through different stages was the importance of feeling we have our community behind us in our parenting. And I know that where you are right now in a more rural place, you have a sense of that. That the adults that are around you when you’re out in the public sphere, they’ve got your back because they’ve got the parents’ back. And I will say from my experience when I was in Southern California, I didn’t sense that as much. It may be shifting now, as parents have now been home with their children in a more consistent way, but in the years past––so this was my experience of it was that, you know, I was attentive. I could sense the judgment of people, if I was having a situation with one of my young children where I had to be very firm. Not abusive obviously, but firm. I have three boys and, you know being a mother, sometimes there were moments where I had to hold them with my firmness to stop them from flailing, kicking, hitting me or whatever walked by. But I could feel it in those moments if I was out, you know, if I had to run an errand, if that happened, I could feel people not saying, “Hey mom, do you need a hand?” I never had that. I never had someone come and say that. I mean, I wasn’t in this situation often, but. And how important that part is in the investment or the faith in ourselves, in the authority that we have, that we have to make those decisions in those moments. And how many people have seen a child throwing a crazy tantrum in a store and a parent, just either acquiescing kind of ignoring it, letting it happen, and maybe trying to appease the child––rather than “No! We leave now, we’re done” or whatever. And I don’t say that without understanding it, sometimes a child needs a nap and these are the things.
And that’s most of it, right? That’s most of it. The child needs a nap.
They’re out of rhythm, they’re tired, but you know, those are the things that establish that ability to say no. You start that holding. The children need to know they’re safe with you. And then when you say it, it means something. So. There’s overuse of no, which is to no purpose.
Absolutely. But I think that we’ve gone far in the other extreme. And, it isn’t just, I mean, we both were raising our kids on the West Coast. I’m now not there on the coast. But it was all over, but it wasn’t just there. I remember in the middle of America too, you know, I think you and I remarked about someone we had known you were gathering with, they were just following their young child, wandering everywhere in a park or whatever, instead of kind of holding the space for the child. Being like, “no, you’re going to be in this area, but I’m going to sit here and talk, I’m not going to go follow you anywhere you want to go because you know, we’ve got to coexist here. I got my stuff and you’ve got yours. So yeah, so it is across the board. I don’t think “no” is particularly the extreme problem at this point. So, I think that what you’re referencing, perhaps things have changed some, as parents are there home with their kids all the time. I mean, we’ve all been put through so many different challenges. And so parents that are both working and also having to manage their kids, out of necessity, they’re going to probably have to get a little bit more real about it. Right?
Well that’s the other part of it. It’s the getting real part. Where you say privilege, I also would say soft. There’s a softness and I don’t want to interrupt your stream right there––but one of the pictures that I’ve always had, which is sort of traumatizing when I think about it is like, I want to know that if things really get nitty gritty somehow, and I need my kids––and I remember thinking this when they were babies––if they need to be quiet and still, I need to know that can happen. That’s like a survival from trauma of lineages and ancestors who’ve had to flee war torn places and I know that exists today. But that thought has always been there. That that’s the kind of authority a parent needs to be able to have.
Absolutely. And that’s the kind of direction a child needs to be able to take in the moment that that is necessary. And the child also has to be able to read that, you know, there is a spectrum. But yeah when we’re out and about, and I had similar kinds of concerns or just, you know, in a situation that might just unexpectedly be a dangerous one, I need them to, in that moment do exactly what I say, get in the car, whatever it is. Right? No questions asked until afterwards. So that’s a good point. That just on a level of just, safety,
They need to be able to do that and have that capacity. You need to have that relationship with them, that when you take on that very serious tone, they know “Okay. Mom is in charge and let’s follow that order.” And let’s find out later what that’s all about.
And out of that, speaking about family culture, family community, when a family is in a rhythm out of the living rhythm of their life, they recognize, I notice my children recognize, we’re a team. We are in this together. And of course there’s conflict and such here and there. But when there’s a real sense of the importance of their participation and purpose within the community of that family, I mean, I guess what I’m seeing through our dialogue is like, it’s that sense of purpose, place and necessity. That’s where we can step into those roles properly.
Yes. When they know that they are integral to the team, right. They are not just, kind of, peripheral…
Kind of, yeah, I don’t even know what the word is. It makes me think of, a friend of mine really has an issue with how––many times you go to gatherings or even restaurants, and there’s all of these healthy food choices for the parents, but the kids menu or what the kids are served is some crap, you know, white bread crap. And it reminds me a little bit of what you’re talking about. Kind of like, they’re not treated like
Like an afterthought.
Yeah, like they’re not treated as valuable members of this unit. And the same goes for chores. We’ve talked about this in previous recordings, but, Parents, feel very good and not just good, but just like, know that you’re doing right by your kid, the more you say no to them. You know, obviously in a measured and intelligent way, but I’m just saying, you know, “no, you can’t stay up late again. You can’t go do this again, when you were supposed to do this first, you can’t…” Those are good things and they need it. But the other thing I was going to say is like chores, right? And chores and responsibility. The more responsibility and chores you give to your kid, again, appropriate to their age, the more they are going to feel a valued member of that team and that unit, of course more self-worth naturally anyway, but then there’s more investment in actually listening to what your authority is bringing to the situation, because they know that you’re all kind of like, we’ve all got different roles. And there’s an operation.
And with all of that and the picture of the child, having that sense of purpose, that’s where as a parent, that’s our purpose. Like that sense of purpose is just as much to be able to make it so the child is safe, so they know they’re safe. They know they’re seen, so that there’s that quiet. There’s that center, you see who’s there in charge. The children can then relax and breathe.
And that’s the key, right? It’s that they, I mean, frankly, we all feel this at different times in our lives, when we see someone else taking charge, we can really relax. Right? And so imagine a child at five whose mother or father does not even seem to be in charge enough to, to tell them, to get it together and stop with the tantrum or whatever it is,
Or to give them their clothes to put on.
This is what you’re doing, this is where we’re going. And that’s it. If the child doesn’t even have a sense of that, then imagine the stress, the kind of anxiety, an ongoing anxiety that that child can take on.
Absolutely. Because can’t we all relate to a sense of “who’s in charge? Is anyone in charge?” Cause if nobody is in charge, so that means what’s going on?
Right. It’s kind of this, “Well, because if no one’s in charge, then I am on my own.” And that for a child is scary. And it’s really not what they should be burdened with yet.
And that would be one of those things that, you know, we’ve had conversations and I don’t want to go too far into left field, but, the resistance for adults to step into being self responsible. Because maybe, maybe are we a part of this generation where the parents were afraid to be the authority so that it’s like, it’s still being looked for, as we grow, where, where there should be more of that. I mean, I feel like I’ve mostly come into my own sense of self responsibility, but it’s still growing and emerging. But when we look to the world and what’s happening, we see a lot of that. People wanting to see who’s the father in charge. Or, I mean, that’s usually what I see.
I agree. I mean, it’s a larger issue that we could examine at at length. And even in terms of unhealthy levels of compliance with government BS and all of that, too.
So that’s like Part Two, But this one was simply about parents to have the faith in themselves that they can make the right choices for their family.To rear their children with a gentle and firm hand.
Yes. Yes. They are the best equipped to do this. No one else. They are the best. So knowing that parents, we are all the best equipped to guide our children with a gentle, but firm hand, let’s feel free to exercise that without guilt, without concern that we’re not doing it. And see what happens. And I think we all know this from growing into parenthood. Versus, when I was, you know, first a parent and I’m at your house and my kid is, you know, climbing on the table because he’s one and a half or whatever, and I’m letting him explore everything. And you tell me, “We don’t do that here. We don’t climb on the table.” You know, it makes things a lot simpler and clearer when you get comfortable with that and realize that again, and this is back to healthy boundaries, right? Boundaries are necessary. Good, strong or good, firm boundaries really make life smoother.
But it’s also you saying that, and I know we’re trying to wrap up now. It’s interesting though, because it does remind me of the beginning of parenthood. It’s like, you are born anew with your child. I mean, if you’re paying attention, I think, and you’re looking to the world and the constructs and the norms and going, “what?” When did we decide this is reality, this is the way? And so that’s that impulse of change, which is what our youth bring as they come of age as well. There are a lot of layers to it. It’s not simple and it’s not easy, but I guess it’s simply like–– we can be awake, we can be kind, we can be compassionate and nurturing and clear with clear boundaries and clear direction for our children. Even if we don’t know where we’re going quite yet. I mean, that’s part of it, you know, you learn as you go, but they need that from us and it does get clearer. And then you get to a new stage and you can’t see it again, but, you know, hey.
Totally. I agree. But being comfortable, being comfortable with it and being comfortable with boundaries, I think is important. And exercising, exerting those boundaries and sometimes, when we screw up and we’ve exerted too much of a boundary, we can always change it. And that’s, you know, that’s another thing. I think that’s gone wrong. This notion that you have to hold to your decision to establish your authority over your kid, or for your kid and not be wrong. I think on the contrary, when you screw up, it’s important to let them know, “You know what? I screwed up. That was, that was wrong. I’m going to change that.” It’s a good lesson for them. It’s a good lesson for you. It’s a good lesson for them to know that you’re, you know, in a moment of seeming unfairness that you will come to your senses, and that that’s not going to be as much of like end of world feeling for them, and also to know how to be that as an adult too.
And we’ve had those conversations too––I mean, there’s so much here. It’s fun––that the way in which we address our own mistakes, how we can recognize that allows for them to have the freedom and the safety to recognize their own mistakes. So that there’s actually a space for transformation and improvement, because if we’re just blocking that, “Oh no, I didn’t mess up. No one saw that,” then there’s no room for something true and real to be transformed in to develop better. Because they’re learning by what we do. Right?
Totally. And just to share, I mean, I don’t know if this is what most parents say or not, but I have had conversations with my kids in certain situations where I’m just like, “You know what, Daddy and I have actually not been here before with this. So, you know, this is the best I can come up with right now. If you’ve got some input…I don’t know I’m doing my best here, you know, we’re first timers.” So to just acknowledge that.
Absolutely. Well, thanks. Good chattin’ with ya!
And you! All right. See you next time.
Nice to see you.
You too. Love you. Let me figure out how to do this. It’s been so long.
Hi everyone. It’s been another wild week after a wild year. Wild several weeks. Who knows what wild weeks we’ll see ahead of us, but we want to do a very brief chat here and talk about what we can do about that, what to do about that and how do we navigate? And you and I were sharing, Thea, a few quotes that were resonating with us recently. So why don’t you start with one you’ve got.
Yep. So you know “Lord of the Rings” being one of my favorite stories ever, through our conversations, I was reminded of when Gandalf says, I believe it’s to Frodo when Frodo sort of can’t believe that he can make a difference. How can someone so small make a difference? And Gandalf said, “Some believe that it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I’ve found. I have found it is the small things every day deeds by ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay.”
And following on that, at least the way I see––so I’m a member of the Association for Research and Enlightenment, which is the Edgar Casey Institute, Edgar Casey having been what they call “The Sleeping Prophet.” One of the quotes I love in the recent magazine that was sent to me is, “Peace must begin within self before there can come action or self-application in a way to bring peace––even in thy own household, in thine own vicinity, in thine own state or nation.”
And there’s one other quote, “Embedded in the tiny everyday choices that beckon toward kindness and love is the essence of the Casey work: our oneness with God, our highest self, our oneness with each other.” This is from an article written by Leslie and Corinne Casey. And “We souls have a sacred charge to turn toward others, to serve, to cultivate loving compassion.”
And following on all of that, I want to advise and reassure folks that it really works. It really works to meditate, to pray, to cultivate in our individual spheres a harmony. And that harmony rays out, like you say, Thea. It rays out. And I find that when I do that, even in these tumultuous times and these tumultuous weeks, as I’ve been putting my intention toward that just a few minutes a day, it is flowing. My reality and life experience is flowing beautifully. Harmoniously, abundantly, positively. And connections are being made with others in beautiful and wondrous ways. And I do believe that this is a message that we’re getting from many angles from people who are more tapped in than I am, in terms of having been practicing this for a long time and even more tapped into these universal truths. What I see is that there is a lot of––I see it all as kind of fakery when we watch all that’s going on in the large, macro scale. And that can be anxiety producing if we really get caught up in it. We have control over ourselves and this sphere. We have control over what we focus on. We have control over our thoughts and our energies, where we are putting our energy. That’s what we have control over. We have control over how we choose to respond to the world.
Well, and with that, I would just simply add, a teacher of mine––I believe I may not quote him precisely––but says, “Where we put our attention is where we are.” And so, that simplified is this opportunity where we’re out in the world, in the media world, in actions, in the world, there is so much that is disturbing and we must guard our own spaces in such a way that we do not become disturbed as we see and hear in the broader sphere. Because we have to do the work to shine clear and bright in order to help to transform outward throughout the world.
Right. It’s almost more important than ever when it seems very chaotic out there for us to be even more grounded and centered and stay the course in order to bring it back into balance. Not be led by that, but we will lead it in each of our individual ways. And I don’t know if I said this on camera already, or we talked about it beforehand, but I kind of visualize it as if it’s, you know, billions of spheres of light all over the earth surface. Of each of us harmonizing in this beautiful light. If we’re all doing that, how can that not be transformative? How can that not be incredibly powerful? That will transform, that will create the world that we’re being ushered into and ushering in.
I think just those two places of it––ushering in and being ushered into––so they are going along with one another and there’s a relationship there. And so there is responsibility, a lot of self responsibility to take steps and choose the movements we want to bring into the world with intention, and with a state of being that is not a victim to the world.
And it seems as if we have this opportunity now to consciously choose what aspects of our being and managing and existing we want to carry in with us to this new world and what we may want to leave behind too. And almost everyone I’ve spoken with, including myself, have been finding the need to be doing a lot of deep inner work, to recognize patterns that have not served us, that don’t serve us and pave the way and create new patterns that will serve us. And as they serve us, they will serve all of us. So that’s another focusI think right now to have. To identify what’s negative in our coping mechanisms and transform them into positive mechanisms of being and ways of being and interacting.
Well and the sort of a visual that comes to my mind, as you say, that is, as you talk about spheres, these spheres of light, those habits that are grooved into place that don’t serve us or others are sort of shadowy, right? The grooves are shadowy. So there’s some space that doesn’t have the light shining so clearly. And so in the midst of that conscientious, thoughtful work of recognizing patterns and shifting them, even filling them with light is helpful. Even if we can’t quite name the pattern, or we can’t quite say where it comes from, sometimes just filling it up with the light will be helpful and effective.
Because when we shine light on something, we can bring more consciousness to it. And then it becomes clearer to us to identify
And it can change. You know, those are the parts. Even if we’re not able to yet be exactly what we wish to be, if we can make a choice to change something, that enables us to have a sense of freedom to be able to enact a shift. And that’s part of what we’re in right now in time in the world, it seems as well.
I agree. And so with that, do you want to do it on this one or shall we stop this recording and set up?
I think I have to move, and I don’t quite have a space yet, but there is a brief exercise that is a Spatial Dynamics exercise. And it’s one that can be helpful to recognizing the light that shines from within us and the light that shines outside of us as well, and the way in which we can connect with the broader world through our own individual work and gesture.
Okay. And so I love this idea that Thea and I have been talking about, her putting some movements together for me, maybe a few other folks that we know that we can use as,, I was calling it an anchor Thea, but you would call it
Oh what did I say? It was really good. I can’t remember.
It’s a tangible…so in my recommendation that everyone take five minutes when they get up in the morning and don’t get on the phone, don’t get on the computer. Sit with your cup of coffee or tea or whatever it is. Look out the window, look at the wall, look at a beautiful plant.
A candle, if it’s very dark where you are when you awake.
Exactly, a candle. And take five minutes in some form of meditation and stillness and quiet with oneself, with some positive energy focused. And whether that’s in prayer, affirmation, simply meditation…
And movement can be a meditation as well. The way in which we move with intention.
And so she is going to record this movement for me and for all of you to use, to accompany that and to incorporate as part of your very quick, nice, powerful, and positive way to start the day.
And I would add that in the evening before bed is also as powerful a time as the morning. Both, if you can swing it. I think before bed is very powerful because you then take whatever that is that you have stepped into or created in those couple minutes, you take that into your sleep, which is hours of sleep. So a lot can be done in that space. If you go into it with a mindfulness or an intentional something. So, you know, having good habits in the evening are also a really nice place to make a shift.
Thanks for that reminder. Okay. Well, so again, we’ll post this, we’ll end this recording, and then I will post the link to this short movement video that Thea is going to provide us in the same post on the Sacred Osiris page post. Okay. I love you. Love you all.
Today we want to talk about an approach to the problem that many people are facing right now.
There’s a struggle that we’re all in. And part of that has to do with the fact that it seems more than ever before––in my lifetime––apparent that there are two distinct realities that people seem to be existing in, two distinct consciousnesses, really. And of course we all vary in our beliefs, in our perceptions, in our philosophies, in our values and more, and we’ve always known that. But I think it’s never been so stark for us, at least of our generation and younger generations, that there is a group of people who truly, earnestly are in terrible fear of a virus and are willing to allow any mandate, it seems, to be issued and to follow and comply with that mandate, no matter how destructive it is, no matter how inhuman it is. And by inhuman, I think objectively, I can say it is inhuman to not hug. It’s inhuman to stifle our breath. No matter how extreme that is, for one reason or another–– and these are good people, these are people I love––they are so desperately afraid that they, will––and I don’t know, maybe in perpetuity––remain isolated and cut off from their fellow human beings in order to hide or think they’re avoiding this virus.
They also seem to be content to allow at least other folks’ businesses to be demolished, their livelihoods to be demolished, and perhaps their own. I don’t know, I haven’t met anyone yet whose business has not been allowed to be run or whose job has been cut, who are in full support of these lockdowns. You know, so there’s that. Then there’s this other side that I belong to, that you belong to who are not afraid of any virus in isolation, who certainly, you know––I find this, madness. I find this insane that we are allowing such destruction of our lives out of fear of a virus. Viruses have existed since we’ve existed, probably before, and are always around and we get sick and we get better. And it is impossible to control a virus in this manner. The only thing we can do is control ourselves, our own health, what we put into our bodies, boosting our immune system, taking our own measures, perhaps avoid someone who is sick. Or not.
So, we’re getting close to a year of this and we’re all cracking in different ways. And I guess I speak to the folks who are frightened of this virus as well, because these folks don’t understand us and we don’t understand them. And it’s been near a year of trying to convince the other side of their misperceptions. And I think we have come to the realization that there’s at this point, at least I think, I think the two camps are firmly entrenched. I do not think a lot of folks who are desperately afraid of this virus are going to shift their perceptions or believe that all of these measures have been in vain. And I don’t think anyone in my camp who has not been afraid of this is going to suddenly be terrified of it and believe that these lockdowns and destruction of lives––suicides––and human life are valid. So where do we go from here?
So can I chime in just a little bit, I think, um, in terms of the picture that you’ve painted, what we can recognize is, I would say on both sides, there are these spaces of experiencing fear. Fear at what’s happening, fear at what’s being done, fear of a virus or, you know, one way or another. And I think what we’re coming to is that it’s really no matter, because each of us are finding ourselves where we’re finding ourselves and what we’re interested in is how to create spaces of peace. And so when there are two streams, so deeply grooved into their own spaces, we may not quite find ways of merging streams, but there may be at least a shared space of what makes that triangle. I guess I’m coming to the form of it.
So we were talking earlier about the different elements of evil and how evil has worked in regards to humanity’s journey through all of the time that we can recollect. And that there are different ways in which that has come to be. And that one of the main things that has happened and tried to happen several times over history is this solidifying or cutting off the human being from that which unites all––which is spirit. I was reading in this very interesting book I’ve been reading that during the time of Constantinople, it had been decreed that man was simply body and soul. And so they had eliminated officially, in some regard, spirit. But luckily that was not held for too long and different thinkers and feelers in communicating with humanity realigned us to spirit. And so in our conversation, it was a little bit––coming to this division of this camp, or this camp is––is a bit that depiction of body/soul. Forgetting that there is that which unites us all. And so I think that’s kind of what our conversation was gearing towards today. While we may not see eye to eye, we can in some way unite in something greater than ourselves. And stop feeding those elements that fear feeds because that’s not getting us anywhere. If we’re here on earth to develop our own humanity, compassion, love, and therefore through that development develop the earth itself towards this transcendence through love.
And let me clarify for myself and for everyone else, so what we were talking about without getting too metaphysical is this idea of some attempt back then to diminish or almost eliminate our awareness of the Trinity and move us into a dualistic consciousness. And you talk about different thinkers having been responsible for helping us reawaken to that Trinity in, in different ways of framing our understandings of our existence and consciousness. And you mentioned Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas.
What I’ve been getting very in touch with––and interestingly, I’ve connected to others who seem to be coming at it from different angles, but the same thing––is yes, compassion and love. And for me, getting very in touch with and a greater understanding of the Christ consciousness. And, and I kind of see it as, the Christ consciousness is that spirit of love that runs through us all. And if we are not connected to that, then we do, like you said, we forget that we’re actually all in, can we say swimming in the same ocean, even if we’re swimming, as you had put it, in two very separate currents. There is something that does unite us and something much larger than ourselves and something worth living for. And it reminds me of the inscription that mom had written in that Autobiography of a Yogi that I didn’t find until after her death, for some reason, or I hadn’t seen the inscription or something when she had given me the book. And she said, “Love is the only reality that lasts. It’s the foundation of the atoms of the universe.” And when I am in touch with that, and when I’m in touch with what I feel when I feel the Christ consciousness and the spirit of Christ flowing through me, I am aware so much of this temporal experience. I am aware, I feel this truth, that our struggles and our fears and our challenges are here for us to move through and learn from. And that moves us forward when we can learn from our challenges and overcome our obstacles. But it feels to me that the fear is really of a temporal nature. And we really are in control of it if we choose to be, but that what we’re also here to do is to create love, joy, and that that is eternal.
So with that, a couple of thoughts just came in terms of this division that we are witnessing in different ways. We can be okay with the different ways in which we all live our lives and we can still allow for, and we must still allow for, I shouldn’t say we must, I’ll say, I think it would be good if we allow for each individual to make their choices. You know, it’s important to have the freedom to choose and where things become so challenging is when there are those that are trying to eliminate choice and freedom of, of any people. And this is through time. And when that happens, when that overreach is happening, that’s when resistance is created. And so how do we live through that moment, but to become bigger than ourselves and to tap into love and that which is greater than the one part or the other part? I don’t have any conclusion there, but I think there’s something in that, that we can make our connections with others and still be separate in our individual life, person, body––because somewhere we are united through it all. But we don’t have to give ourselves over to otherness, if that makes sense. I’m not quite full there. And I apologize. It’s not clear.
It’s so tricky. It’s not clear and that’s why we’re talking. I guess one thing I would say is that love and acceptance of the other does not negate the need for us to act purposefully and to manifest what we want to see happen. It doesn’t mean that we don’t work to expand and cast off these limitations of freedom, right?
It’s still necessary to walk our own path. And how else can we exist without allowing for others to have their own existence and flow, and that doesn’t eliminate the need to create the path that we are creating one way or another. So I don’t know.
No, I mean, who knows what’s going to happen, right? I mean, there’s such a division. We don’t know how it’s going to play out on a practical level. Sometimes I think that, I mean, putting it bluntly, whatever your politics are, it’s pretty clear that there’s a division between the way the red States versus the blue States are dealing with this, you know, “this crisis.” And people’s consciousness even about politics is kind of expanding. This dualistic red, blue, so many people who thought they were in the blue are like, “Whoa, I’m aligning way more with people in the red in terms of this aspect of things. But I don’t agree with this aspect of things.” And so a lot is changing and moving for people. People are re-examining so much, but more than anything, people are connecting to those who are sharing their perceptions, and I’m doing it all the time. I’m connecting so much to so many people who I wouldn’t have connected to before, or have these conversations with who are––I mean, it’s wonderful––and who see what I’m seeing. And I think the key is to keep gravitating to those folks in whatever way you can, whether it’s online, whether it’s in-person. And we’ll see what comes of that. If people are going to be forming their own communities, if people are going to be gravitating to certain States who share one reality and the others in the other States. But to not feed the beast that we were talking about.
Yeah. To not feed that dish of fear to anything. And I think another part that we can maybe kind of close with is, how I hold myself to meet another informs very much the meeting itself. So even if, and these are challenges, even if I know that there is a different reality being held, can I hold a space within myself in that meeting for the possibility and the hope that that a light can emerge through these meetings? Not that there’s changing anybody, because none of us respond well to someone trying to change us from the outside. But if we can, if I can hold a space of love, and openness and acceptance, then something new might be born out of that. You know, maybe we get a purple going on with our red and blue.
That’s the key––is that we really must allow a space for possibility of a third path, a third way. Than one or the other, right now.
Because we could stay––and as we’ve seen through history, when the one or the other is, if heels are dug in, then that simply continues on and on. When I’m able to open my eyes and my senses to the wonder of nature that is there around us all the time, it starts to illuminate the spaces that are more muddy as well.
Yeah. And also open and see the glory of each human beings’ capacity for love and friendship, even if they’re holed up in their house for the last nine months, even thinking that I am misguided and selfish or whatever it is. If we can focus on that spark of light and love in folks, then…
Then that’s what grows.
Yeah. Right. So, I know it’s been said in many methodologies and practices not to focus on what it is we don’t want, but to focus on what we do want. So let’s not focus on the fear or really even the insanity that we perceive, but on, and let’s not focus on what divides us, but let’s focus on what unites us each of us. And if we can focus on that, I think that will flesh out another stream that we can’t conceive of right now. And it will certainly also help each one of us to find a peace. And then what I’ll also say as advice––you know I’ve been doing some practice, Louise Hay work, working on a lot of this, acceptance and forgiveness.
And I can’t remember exactly how she puts it in the book, but she describes forgiveness, not as, of course, any kind of condoning someone else’s behavior, or what has happened, what’s transpired between you in the past or transgressions or anything. But forgiveness is letting go. And so I’ve been doing that a lot, almost daily, with so many folks in my life. I don’t really hang on to grudges or anything like that, but as I started this process, I started just thinking of so many people in my life now, and in the past, that I’m I’m just practicing this forgiveness. So that my advice is to forgive everyone that you come into contact with for everything, let go of anything that impedes the flow and accept them, forgive them.
And then finally, I’d like to suggest––again, this is something that’s been said forever––but I remember in one of the Carlos Casteneda books, Don Juan his teacher, Don Juan the shaman is teaching him to essentially wear death right there on your shoulder, so that you are always aware at every moment that you will die. And when we are close to death, when we are connected to that reality, always, it helps us to live this moment fully. So consider it, cause you might die tomorrow. You might die in an hour. If that’s the reality, how do you want to live your life? What do you want to focus on? I want to focus on the love. I want to focus on the love that connects me to my children, to my husband, to all of my loved ones. I want to focus on that. I want to experience that joy and that love, that peace. I want to make things and create things. I want to learn. You want to make, create, cook. Do that. Right?
Yeah. And I would like to add just to close with that picture of forgiveness, acceptance, the more I do that with myself, the more it comes for me with others. The more I see my spaces of balance or tendency, the more I’m able to release it. And, so it’s that inside, outside mirror work I think is pretty profound. And there was something else, but I don’t remember what it was.
Well, it’s a flow, it’s a flow.
The picture I had, if one is wearing death on the shoulder, that allows us to live our life more fully, it’s like living into the edges fully. It’s the picture of raying out into all directions and not leaving shadow spaces. So, you know, those reminders are very helpful. And fear is the opposite, right? Fear is that which contracts us into a smaller, less raying gesture.
So when we were talking yesterday, you referenced, you said it was reminding you of a convocation speech that Jim Carrey had given where he basically just said, “it comes down to a choice between fear and love.” And that’s it, it’s a choice between fear and love. So let’s choose love.
So today let’s, let’s talk briefly about some of our experience that we think might be worth sharing with folks. And the perspective it’s provided us having just moved from California. And I want to, first of all, make clear, as you pointed out is important, that we each were planning to move from California for awhile.
These plans were already in place before all this happened this year. And I want to also point out that we were raising our families there. Both my kids were born in California. I was there for 15 years. Thea?
I was there for 20 and all but one of my children were born there, though they were all raised there.
And my husband and I planned certainly to raise our kids to adulthood there in our family home. We did not want to leave the apparent paradise of California, but felt we needed to. I got involved several years ago––what I should also point out is that I think that our perspective is unique to those who have gotten involved in some legislative issues there, and maybe gotten a little bit closer view and perspective on some of what’s been going on there, than folks who have not. Maybe––I mean, of course there are many people who’ve left California and become disenchanted with California for a variety of reasons. There are too many to list. You can take your pick. But I got involved in the mandatory vaccine legislation. In 2012, a law was passed that required parents get a doctor’s signature, a sanctioned health practitioner’s signature, in order to exempt their child from one or two or more, or all vaccines on the schedule, in order…
Which in essence removed the authority of the parent to make health decisions for their children.
Undoubtedly…and be allowed to send their child to school, public, or private or daycare. And then in 2015, I got very actively involved in opposing and trying to prevent another bill that was introduced and did subsequently pass, which eliminated the choice entirely. So parents could no longer exempt their child from one, two, many or all vaccines on the schedule, for personal belief or religious reasons.
Can I ask a question? As far as I understand at that point, and I could be wrong was that it was simply philosophical choice. It seems that California had eliminated the religious choice.
That’s all been kind of under debate. It was not, it was not listed, but religious belief fell under personal belief. Right?
But it was under debate and it was scrutinized and it was looked at from many different angles because of the fact that they did not eliminate, technically eliminate the religious exemption in that, you know, we looked at whether or not that could actually be put forth as a legal exemption. Anyway, that’s for another conversation. But bottom line is that after SB277 passed in 2015, you only have the option for a medical exemption in order to send your child to school, public or private or daycare, and that meant that even a two week old infant would not be allowed to attend daycare if they hadn’t been vaccinated with Hep B, which is a sexually transmitted disease, a vaccine ostensibly designed to prevent this, this sexually transmitted disease. I could go on. So we got very involved in that, and that was a real eye opener.
And I’ve written about that. So I won’t go into all of the details in terms of the eye-opening experience that was, and then in 2019, another law was passed SB 276 that I will say for the record, so no one can say I’m speaking falsely––the medical exemption was not eliminated, but it was very restricted so that medical exemptions virtually exist in California in name only now in order for a child to attend school, public or private or daycare. Anyway, we, I also was involved in opposing legislation that was attempting to restrict my rights, as a homeschooling parent, to homeschool my children as I saw fit. And more and more and more. It almost seemed exponentially accelerating, this suppression of our sovereign rights as parents there in California. And I definitely did not want to keep raising my children there.
And can I just throw one just time, space holder? When all of this was happening was in the midst of the big “Me Too boom” in the country. And it somehow never seemed to be able to become congruent with people who shout out “my body, my choice.” That only applies to something that externally is taken from you rather than something that is forcibly put upon you––and that is such a divide of understanding. So that was simultaneously happening. I think it just gives a picture of something ludicrous.
That’s a good point to make, and on so many levels and on so many issues, there was so much that was incongruent. And so many of us that were actually working, petitioning––I wrote about this recently, after SB277 was passed in 2015, there was an effort to get a referendum to get that repealed, to get that on the ballot, but you need a certain number of signatures. And so many of us all over the state were you know, standing out front our markets, going to farmer’s markets, going to all sorts of public places to petition and talk to people about this law that most didn’t know about and try to get their signature to get this on the ballot so that the people decide this. And in that, that experience I’ve written about was the most eyeopening of them all.
I realized that people were not very capable of having an actual critical discussion about the issue, but were parroting soundbites that they were reading in the mainstream press about this particular issue. And I started realizing that there was a very high level of indoctrination here at work. I call it brainwashing. Folks that I had previously considered thinking, critical thinkers, intelligent people––and what I’ll point out is we both lived in very educated, concentrated centers of California. And I mean, California itself was very known for being progressive and forward-thinking about health and alternative health and natural health and healthy living. And many of us were rudely awakened to the fact that that mentality was no longer part of the consciousness really. Only in surface, kind of name only––people still went to the organic food stores, but…
It was living in the feel-good way. I think there’s something to that.
It’s just all superficial. People wear it on their sleeve and they––you just brought up the Me Too thing, or basically identity politics. What I saw in California was that people were wearing an identity, an external identity that they did not live, believe, understand, or had even critically examined at all. So, yeah. And I mean, of course we can talk about just the politics of California. We can talk about the politics and, you know, the environmental, the environmentalism, the wokeness, the radical leftist, almost Marxist ideology that seems to be rapidly overtaking it. So that’s enough of a reason, alone. But what we want to talk about, and the reason I talk a little bit about my experience, our experience being actively involved in these legislative issues is because they were very specifically centered around infectious disease, at least a lot of it, and “medicine,” and the authority of the health departments of the state. And we saw what they were doing. Back then, it was horrifying.
And so we are seeing many folks now, friends of ours, peers who are just having that experience for the first time, realizing that the state is using medical fascism as their means of taking more and more control over our lives. And a lot of people don’t know what’s hit them. I mean, they’re just reeling from it. We were reeling from it, but we had some time to ramp up to that and to start looking around and seeing what is, and seeing how it was happening and seeing the propaganda.
I wasn’t going to go into any of this, but briefly, a friend, a dear one, family friend, friend, family member had posted an article. And I just saw the headline. It was on my Facebook feed a week or two ago. And I don’t remember what the title was. It was in the Atlantic and it was something about empathizing essentially––it was about empathizing or understanding the anti maskers. And I scrolled on by, I knew what it was. I’ve seen a million of these pieces, these hit pieces masquerading as something that they’re not, but it came up in a discussion involving this person. And I just brought it up again. And I said, “I saw this headline and just go with me on this and let me test this out. I didn’t open it. And I promise I didn’t read it.” And I predicted what it was. I predicted that it was a pretense of attempting to understand the anti masker and you know, with this pretense of benign purpose to empathize, to understand these “strange phenomenons of nature,” these anti maskers. And I said, “I bet it went into the demographics of the anti masker. I bet it was subtle and not overt, but painted them, as misinformed, as misguided, as politically motivated and above all incapable of understanding data and science. And then I predicted further, I just kind of, I predicted this whole layout. And what I pointed out was that what these articles do, if I was correct, is they remove the reader from the core argument. The core argument is “mask or no mask?” Or more importantly, “mask mandate,or no mask mandate?”
But in its clever PSYOP propaganda way, it establishes mask wearers as good, non-mask wearers as “not good” as its premise. It’s already the foundation. It’s already the premise. That’s not even discussed. It’s implicit in this pseudo highbrow analysis of the non-mask wearer and the psychology of that anti mask wearer. Or that anti masker, that non mask wearer. And so it it’s insidious and it’s clever. And so I really just digressed, but I’ve seen this for years with the anti-vax…
It’s the propaganda. It is the method and way it is laid out, and it is clever. And so being able to identify it and see it before you even have to go through it is huge because that means you are not then in the loop of it. You’re able to have some objectivity to see clearly with.
And so what I’d like to just throw out there for folks who may not know––I mean, you and I’ve talked about this to varying degrees over the last several months, but so many folks cannot even imagine, even if they’re reading all of the restrictions that Newsom has imposed, all the tiers and all of the craziness––even if they’re reading that, they cannot conceive of what it’s like to live there in California, especially in those areas in the Bay area, the San Francisco Bay area, in Los Angeles,
The coastal areas…
In coastal California, in the urban and gentrified, heavy, concentrated areas of coastal California. That’s what it is. And there are pockets of more conservative, and resistance, counties, but by and large, it’s insanity. You can hardly walk down the street––and I’m saying this because I haven’t been there for a few months––it was already whacked by the time I left, but my whole community is still there. You can’t walk down the street and see more than one or two unmasked faces if you’re lucky! Outside! On hiking trails! Right?
Yes. I mean, not only California.
I know. The West Coast, and those areas in all of the Western States.
And, I mean, you can’t go into a store in Marin County wearing a neck Gator, you can’t wear a face shield. That’s not acceptable unless you put a mask on underneath it. It has to be CDC approved.
Can I ask you, I recall, when did the mask, I mean, it’s all such a blur. When things shut down last spring and I was coastal, they closed the beaches so people couldn’t walk on the sand, masks were not mandated yet, right? That, that came later.
Mmmhmm. But not much later. Certainly in Marin, they were encouraged and recommended. By the time we left, it was already moving toward the mandate. They did it in increments. And I knew the moment the health department started encouraging them, they would be a mandate.
Yep. And then this was the thing that I think we wanted to touch upon. The rest of the country, world, whoever thinks California’s been doing something, right, have a look again. Because they’ve had the strictest measures since the get-go, and here they are, again, completely shut down. Completely.
So I just want to run through this a little bit more though. They removed all of the basketball, the nets from the hoops or completely barricaded it all off. All the playgrounds were closed.
All the caution tape surrounding them, shutting them down. This is what was happening. These were “smart health measures.”
This was from March. I mean, I lived in the county that was one of the six that Newsom ordered the first shelter in place in the whole country. And we were, that day that it happened, camping locally. And the Rangers came and told us we had to leave. So we’re there out in this gorgeous Redwood campground very far away from another, we had to leave because it was “safer for us to be in our homes right, than out there in nature.” There was no one on the streets, right? t was like a ghost town. It was crazy.
Post apocalyptic is what it was.
Quickly people were reporting even families. A family was out at the baseball field, not far from where we lived in our neighborhood, playing baseball just with each other. They were reported to the authorities for being out there mingling. Marin County and many other counties have a snitch line. They have their own dedicated snitch line to report all of these violations. Different towns have had social distancing ambassadors outside in the streets, making sure people stay sufficiently apart. One of my friends in Marin still, who was sitting with her friend out at the park––and this was in the spring––sitting outside in the park, the city park, certainly not knee to knee, were approached by a cop to put masks on. And she knew what the orders were. And she said, “Well, I’ll just move back so I’m six feet apart.” And she talked to him a little bit more and he said, “If you were walking, it would be okay. But when you’re sitting, you have to be masked. Like that makes sense.
None of these measures make sense, whatever they are, the back and forth of every part of it. You know, being somewhere where you can’t use paper and pen, but then you can use the electronic pen to sign your signature.
So, you know it’s my suspicion that it’s actually designed to screw with people. I think that in of itself is a PSYOP. I don’t think it’s by mistake. I think it’s designed to just put people in such a state of dissonance that they can’t even think straight, and it will make them more compliant. But, the schools were closed. Virtual learning has been in place since the spring––since March, right?––in California. The playgrounds in Marin only just opened up like a month ago with these crazy restrictions––half an hour limit, mandatory masks, no food and drink, kids had to practice social distancing. So you couldn’t interact or mingle with someone who’s not from your family unit at the, at the outdoor playgrounds in Marin, just recently. Yet they still just now had “a surge,” and had to shut down.
So definitely, Folks, understand that for what––nine months?––California has been the most restricted, restrictive, crazy place to live in terms of these “COVID control measures.” And it now has “a surge” that requires complete shutdown. So first of all, recognize that these measures are obviously not working to “control the surge” or “control the spread,” right? That’s the first thing. But also recognize that compliance with these measures brings more measures. It brings more and more restrictions. I’m not sure what people think the end game is here––those who are happily complying, and I know there are many. And the other thing I’d like to point out that was the biggest eye-opener for me over the last several years in California, was how compliant the educated folk were. And despite knowing how compliant they were and how bought in to the Pharma propaganda, it’s knocked me off my feet to see how compliant they’ve been with allowing so many people’s lives to be destroyed and their own to be completely restricted and inhuman. So having said that, it is again, more important than ever that we do not comply anymore.
That we stand up and create a boundary, a protection, a moment to say, “This will not happen. No. Stop.” Because until we do it continues to go on and on and on.
I know. And we talked about this––you thought about Gandalf in this, right? That the time has come, where we all need to put our staves down.
To gather up our strength in that staff, right? Just to really be clear, you must gather your power and stand it, to ward off that which is trying to breach your safe, sovereign space. That is what’s happening over and over in our life right now. And if we don’t stand up and take it, we are staying asleep. We are being unconsciously sacrificed into these rituals that are taking power for those that are in power, taking more power. The more one is compliant and submissive, they’re giving it away, giving it away. And we have to have the courage to stand up and be willing to sacrifice what is necessary for our sacrifice in order to maintain a freedom of the individual, of the human being. Not to sacrifice ourselves mindlessly blindly into the machine of power.
Yes, we have to consciously sacrifice. We talked about sacrifice last week. We have to consciously be prepared to sacrifice, to take action and to sacrifice, and put our staff down and say, “You shall not pass.” “No more.” Rather than be sacrificed. I think that’s the distinction that we’re getting at. If you comply with this insanity, and again, look at California, which has been absolutely restricted from March on, and they are now totally shutting down again. You have to ask yourself what sense any of that makes. You have to really look at that. And I’m saying, if you have any care to retain your sovereignty, because I can see that a lot of people don’t. And I don’t know where that’s going to lead and where it’s going to lead them, but I know a lot of people do. So time to stop clinging to this cheap morality that the corporate media is handing you, and comforting you with. It’s time for you to take a real hard look at what is happening and realize that you’ve got no time. You’ve got to stop complying, now, if you don’t want it to turn into California. And more and more. It’s endless, what’s going to happen, if we don’t stop complying.
That machine is never satisfied. I was having a conversation with one of my children today about the void that an intellectualism or materialism––that which is without spirit or God. And it will incessantly feed, but it will never be satisfied. And that is why we have to stand our ground and say, “No.”
And claim our divine right.
So let’s cut it here. I know, again, I don’t know how rambling or interesting this was to anyone, but it was important to get it off of our chests and just get that conversation moving forward. We know. I predicted so much once the moment that first shelter in place was announced, I knew where things would go.
Based on my experience over the last few years. So I’m not coming out of nowhere and saying that. I say that with experience, and there are so many who share my experience and share that wisdom and some who did much more than me and saw it even more closely. So please trust me when I say to stop complying and to claim our divine right.
And shine the light and keep shining the light. We have to shine it into those dark spaces. It’s the time for us to be doing that with, with conviction.
Yeah. Conviction and clarity.
All right. Well, let’s cut this and, I’ll see you later. Love you.
Support is available and ready to assist each and every one of us, but it first requires sacrifice which is born out of courage into what is true.
Okay, we are recording. Hi Thea.
So I’m going to just introduce this very briefly and hand off to you. We spoke a little bit before we started recording, trying to pinpoint what it is exactly we are getting at in the conversations you and I have had, of course, in the last couple of weeks, leading up to this. And sacrifice, the theme of sacrifice, is what we’re going to discuss today, and the role of sacrifice in creation, and the nature of sacrifice and the nature of creation and transformation. And so I’m going to hand off to you here.
Well, in our preliminary conversation, we were talking about a lot of different things. So some of the ideas that sacrifice was born out of was, “what are we here for in this life on this Earth?” We had talked a little bit about the idea of reincarnation and how does that inform our understanding of our purpose in this life.
And I also let me interrupt just to insert this, because I have a kind of compartmentalized view of maybe three categories, and there’s a spectrum that ties those together as well. We were talking about reincarnation and how, if you perceive the world and life, your life experience through a lens of a belief in reincarnation that will give you a different approach to the significance of each of our actions here on Earth, or can. There is also a belief that may or may not include reincarnation, but at least is a belief in a world, realms beyond this material Earth plane, which may inform in the same way or differently. And my third category that I break it down into is the materialists who––and I know there’s this impulse of a humanist, humanistic belief that this is it. This is the only life. It often seems to go hand in hand with an atheism where this is it, this is what we’ve got, but still an impulse toward contributing to the stream of goodness. I don’t go for that. I think that that is myopic and limiting, but it doesn’t, it doesn’t preclude having a larger sense of purpose in the creation here. So, sorry for the digression.
Not at all. I think it’s good. And with all of that, you know, this time and this moment right now, which we are all living in, with our eyes open to varying degrees to what part we play. And as we are now in December, this darkest of months in the Northern hemisphere, we’re now coming to this darkest night where we protect and honor the light that grows within as our external light fades. And it’s the turning moment we have once we hit that solstice until Christmas, that’s that slow turning of the light is dark until it starts to grow again. And there’s something in our mirroring of our external world and our inner world of what we’re able to see and develop and get clear on as our light, our inner light must grow to meet the outer darkness. So I think that’s where we’re at mostly––that this moment is big. And if we can open our eyes to our inner light and our purpose for being here, having courage to meet this moment, and with that courage, a willingness to sacrifice what we have thought we have in order to give the nourishment to the transformative forces that are wanting to support us in this change, changing time, this wakening time. So if we can walk with courage, those supportive forces can step in and help to carry us, but it requires the sacrifice which is born out of courage into what is true, I think.
Yes. I want to give some context to it too, and to anyone listening. One of the things that is most challenging to me at this moment in time is how everyone, even us right now, we’re here sitting here talking as if some things are normal. We’re behaving as if there’s normalcy here, that there’s there’s okayness here in all that’s going on in the world. And of course there is some okayness, but by and large, it’s insane and it’s not okay. And I know that many of us are walking around with this external facade, in a way, of normalcy––and inside are horrified by what’s going on.
And we all have, many of us at least, have experienced this to varying degrees in our lives from the time we’re young. You know, something really bad happens at school and we’re having to walk through the halls as if it’s all okay. Or our parents die within two weeks of each other. And the rug is pulled out from under us and we’re walking around and people are saying hello as if things are normal, but we know that something is completely…
Completely altered existentially. And we’re trying to get our bearings. I believe that on a very large scale that’s happening now. And so it’s important to me to give voice to that. It’s horrifying. It is horrifying every day. It’s horrifying to wake up to this reality, and I’m going to say it again––to this, to the tyranny, to the lockdowns, to the masked, the masked assault on our humanity, on the social distancing on children, not being able to play together, on teachers not being able to teach their kids in person, on limitations on Thanksgiving and family gatherings. It’s a nightmare. It’s a horror show. And I’m saying this for those who see it, and for those who don’t… (waves them away.) So back to that, what we’re talking about in terms of this moment, you are providing context of this time of year that is parallel to what seems to be also this time of millennia, this absolutely critical point in time that we are all here to bear witness to, and to participate in.
Just in that picture, like of time and human development. Of our abilities to perceive, think, and engage in our world, it’s like we’re sliding down. And if we don’t make a turn in a particular direction at a certain point, it’s like the stream goes farther and farther down into the dark abyss rather than the waking up of the capacity of what it means to be a divine human being.
And so following on what you’re talking about with sacrifice, and you talked about the Christ consciousness and the Christ impulse before we started recording. And that’s why it’s so important to consider, Folks, why we are here. Life can be fun and joyful. Thank God. But we’re not here just for a fun ride. And so it requires every era, every generation, really every person, and every moment, to continue meeting the challenges and to take action. I believe, you know, we could talk about the Christ consciousness all day, but that sacrifice is an acknowledgement, a recognition, and a courageous beyond courageous statement, an undeniable statement that we are acting on behalf of something larger than ourselves.
And then I would want to add to that the something beyond or larger than ourselves is the whole that we are, but, a mirror or a window into that largeness of being, of consciousness. And I wanted to add that courage, I am thinking is born out of love, born out of love for that which is ourselves and greater than ourselves, and is ourselves again, right? So that’s the largeness, when we talk about being one, you know, when we talk about community, it’s just, it’s everything.
That’s exactly it. That’s all of it. So it’s very, very critical right now in this time of this BS identity politics, diversity, awareness, all of this stuff that totally confuses. And that’s false, that’s a false interpretation of our oneness and our community.
Those gestures, while it has the tagline to be unifying is actually separating. Because we are bigger than our appearance.
Well, just go back to just the basics of Anthroposophy. When we were talking about that. Anthroposophy at its core doesn’t need any of that from the outside, because––or that curriculum, the Waldorf curriculum––because it’s simply about understanding, reading stories and understanding another’s perspective, similar experiences that you have had and an identification with everyone and all. That we, I am you, you are me, and we are all, and, and all is one.
And we’re all having different perspectives out the window while we’re here. We’re all having different perspectives. And I think that our goal is not to create more division, “diversity.” While what story is with that––is, you know, bringing equality to all people. We are! I don’t have the words yet because it’s not that we don’t recognize we all have different walks in our lives. We all have different challenges. Some are atrocious, some appear to be gentler and more bountiful. And yet it’s not about creating more separation. And that takes courage for me right now to even to be able to say that, because it’s about, we’re all in the same house, looking out different windows. So we see the sun rising at a different time. We have more light. (Thea’s frame cuts out a second and they pause.)
The reason I brought up the identity politics or the diversity training and all that––I want to go back to sacrifice. There is a real imbalance in terms of what that understanding is and what sacrifice and why. We should not sacrifice, we should not subordinate ourselves to another. That’s not a productive or constructive sacrifice. And I guess we could get into a discussion and I’m sure some folks would say, “Oh, well, that is for the greater good, because some people are oppressed, and so the only way to fix that is essentially to oppress the oppressors.” That’s not how it works, and that’s really taking it down to a reductivist, atomistic, separate…it’s false, it’s false. And so I want to go back to what that sacrifice is. You were talking about the mystery of Golgotha and what it is to you.
My understanding is that the sacrifice and therefore the resurrection. And so the way I’m thinking about it is this, this moment in time where what we can sacrifice with clarity is that substance that allows for the resurrection. You know, we each know this in ourselves through our own personal lives, right? When we’re willing to jump into the unknown, which is scary, and leave that which we have known behind us, that’s when something has a force to grow anew. But until we do that, we stay in the same groove, and to varying degrees. I think was it Carlos Castaneda who says, the great mystery is in, or the great alchemy that the initiates know is that you jump and you find that the universe supports you with a feather bed. You know, it’s through that. That’s the sacrifice–– facing the fear and jumping still.
It’s faith. It’s the dark night of the soul in the initiation rituals throughout the hermetic tradition, it is practicing and demonstrating that faith. And we are rewarded with that faith.
And with that, I mean, the thing that I’ve been holding and sensing more strongly is the more I do that, the more I step, I find I’m supported. It’s just like a muscle.The more we do it, the more we know it, the more we can step into greater and greater spaces of sacrifice and work, because then the more we do it, the more we can do it. One of my very favorite teachers says, “look, you know, the better we learn how to do this, the more we can work and the more we can do to keep on doing it,” you know? That’s why we’re here. To just keep on doing it.
Yes! And so that’s the reminder and a little bit of the takeaway. In this time that is scary for so many of us, it is critical for each one of us to take a step, even if it’s a very small step, even if the step seems insignificant a step into that abyss with courage.
And conviction. Because we have to be awake. I think that that’s a key in here––an awakeness to the step we’re taking, to not be sleepy in it. That’s what it is to have the faith as a child in a certain way. We don’t have to know what security we’re leaving in the steps sometimes. And I think that there is a necessary ingredient of being awake to what fear we’re facing.
Do you mean that when we’re a child and have that faith and innocence of a child, that’s not the same as it is now.
Yes. Because we haven’t come away from it yet, we’re still held to some degree. I mean, it varies, I don’t mean to say an absolute, but I notice it in myself as I’ve gotten older, the awareness of what I step into makes a difference.
Of course. I mean the older we get, the more inhibited we get because of life’s experience, of all the dangers that face us, we are wiser. We are “wiser” in that respect, and it’s more challenging to be brave in that wisdom, but being brave in that wisdom and taking action in that, taking action bravely, is even more and more important. And I think probably even more effective because of that.
SoI I don’t know how much more to say about it, and I know this seems a little ethereal or abstract. I’m going to say this, I’m going to bring in something from various conversations that we’ve had, but I’ll say now that my hope in this world at this moment rests with the conventionally uneducated, especially of Western civilization. I would say right now, because I’m blunt like this, the educated members of our society––of certainly the United States and the rest of the Western world––I think are the stupidest human beings on the planet right now. They are very out of touch with their instincts, with their sense. And I say this being an educated, a conventionally educated person. So I feel like I can say that. I just moved from one of the most educated counties in the country, in the world. And I’ve never been surrounded by morons, who are asleep, brainwashed. They are so indoctrinated and brainwashed. And the trick has been that they’ve been taught that this brainwashing is education. So not only are they brainwashed and indoctrinated, they are so proud of this brainwashed indoctrination that masquerades as education and critical thinking that you can’t penetrate them.
It’s interesting what I was going to say,if I can articulate it is it’s this idea that––I saw something making fun of it recently––but that what you see before you is not what you see before you. What you see before you isn’t rea––is that training that you are thinking bigger than what is actually in front of you. Help me out. I mean, my youngest was reading “A Wrinkle in Time,” and there was so much in there too, the it, the thing that takes the feeling of people, which is like their sense, right? Our feelings are that which, if we have trained ourselves to listen and follow those senses, to distinguish between emotions that are fluctuating, but the sense feeling that we are perceiving rawly with, and to be able to bring those in and reflect upon them to understanding––that’s what I think people have been being trained out of. Instead of taking our information through our perceiving capacities and then understanding them.
Hey, I mean, it’s very simple. From birth on, we are, traumatized first off. So, whether it’s the birth practice that is now––conventional birth practices and hospitals are, it’s another horror show. And we say that having had all of our children at home, thank God. But we both had a great deal of experience in the medical, industrial complex and in that whole paradigm. But that whole paradigm is set up to make people go against their instincts. “Here, take this shot. It’s good for you. It hurts. Here. Let me draw blood from you. It’s all for your own good.” Making us all against our instinct. And then, you know, conventional schooling is another one. It’s the opposite of what learning and discovery and curiosity and creativity is about, but kids are made to do it, you know? And, and so when I say the most educated are the dumbest ones, or the most stupid, I don’t say that without compassion. I know that we have been systematically brainwashed to detach from ourselves and our knowingness. But I’m just simply saying, there’s no surprise in it.
And it goes far beyond that and you add media to it and then add the technology. And I would say from 2008 on really, it’s exponentially ramped up because that’s when the iPhone was introduced. And I’m not saying that there isn’t, you know, there’s two sides to the sword. But it has been used to separate ourselves from ourselves. And I won’t go deeply into this. Maybe we can talk about this more in detail next time, but we talked a little bit about Steiner’s lecture on Lucifer and Ahriman and how they work together, hand in hand. And Ahriman, a being, from another realm, incarnating around now, who we’ve seen throughout myths of the Middle East––you can read more about who Ahriman is there––myths or history––but the Ahrimanic method of using “preserving jars” as Steiner puts it, preserving jars. And, and so, whereas Lucifer is concerned with man’s stomachs, and that sensational aspect of this––those are his tools, right––off this existence. Ahriman uses preserving jars. And by preserving jars, it’s explained that, you know, books are preserving jars, libraries are preserving jars. When we take our knowing out of––and I come all the way down (gesture with hand)––out of ourselves and put it in books, and then take those books and put those into libraries, in computers, that takes it away from ourselves. it separates it from us. And when our world is full of experts, who take someone else’s knowing in a book and then take that in and then go through the training and the schooling and the testing, and then writing their own thesis of preserving jar and put that in something else, our knowing keeps getting more and more abstract. And so we’re living in a world full of experts where people go to experts for everything.
We’ve touched on this in other talks. parents go to parenting experts. People go to doctor, medical experts. People go to experts for everything. And his is like the culmination of all of it. Experts are telling people to cover their––smother their breath and cover their faces and walk six feet apart from each other and not be human and not hug and not touch and not kiss and not play together. Experts are telling them all this and far too many people are doing it, because they don’t trust their own knowing and their own instinct. Even though the stats show no evidence to prove any of this, they will believe it because the experts are telling them that. So I sure digressed, but I’m just going to go back to the fact that the hope of humanity is in all people who are in touch with their own knowing.
And I don’t mean that the educated––many educated folks have been able to hold onto that. And I would say that people who work with the land get that reinforcement of knowing. I think people who work with their hands, I think people who work with people––you have much more of an opportunity to stay in touch with your own knowing when it’s reinforced all the time. But people, trust your instincts. Don’t listen to these experts and don’t listen to these educated folk because they’re not where it’s at.
Yeah. It’s it that courage to trust yourself, have courage for what is true. And now’s the time. And the support is there. We don’t know what we’ll have to sacrifice, but we have to be willing to sacrifice to be able to support the evolution of this world.
Of humanity. It rests on every one of us in every step, in every deed now. So don’t wait, don’t wait for anything to change. Do it. Sacrifice and become part of that Christ consciousness, get merged with the Christ consciousness. It’s a good company.
But what you said is no matter how small those steps. And some days, they’re very small. Even if it’s simply to decide to have faith and find the good in the day, right? that takes courage. To meet what is before us.
All right. So it’s been a very long time. We’ve both been in transition. I haven’t had a decent enough internet to do this in the new location I’m in, in a very rural area. So here we are, after a lot of time and a lot of stuff happening in the world, that’s, uh, insane. And to cut to the chase, I think most people who know me or have listened to anything that I’ve said or written know that I believe tyranny is descending upon us or attempting to. I mean, it’s descending and it’s not here yet in a real way. We are still at a crossroads and we can shift this. And I can also just speak briefly to the fact that I am in opposition to all restrictions that have been imposed on us. My approach to health is holistic. I have a fairly deep understanding of transmission of infectious disease. I also am aware of the importance of what we put in our bodies and how we support our immune systems in terms of how we handle and navigate anything that comes our way health wise.
So, having said that, I think that what you and I have been processing together as we always do––and again, this is a dialogue. It’s just a pretty rambling dialogue. We have these conversations all the time, sisters and friends that we are, and for whatever it’s worth, if it’s of any benefit to anyone to, you know, kind of participate in the dialogue or hear a little of this, it may trigger something in our examinations and in our quest to continue on a right path as it relates to the large and the center, I guess, our, our lives, our small lives, our individual lives, I should say.
And the purpose and goal of humanity at large. What are we here to be and do, and work with the cosmic forces that imbue life in the universe.
Right. What role do we play in all of this, in this very critical time, in this incredibly intense time? And I’ll share that I spoke with an elderly friend of mine, 75 plus years old. And I’d asked her if she was reminded of any other time in her life in history, now. Does this time seem like any other time she’s lived in? And she said, no. I had hoped she would tell me that, “yes, it seemed bad this time, it seemed by this time and we got through it.” No, she said she’s never felt so afraid for her freedom as she does now. And so, yes, it’s a critical time. And so one of the things that I think that is frightening, or alarming let’s say, for her––and for me––is not that the government is trying, or not that people in power are trying to take more power and trying to exert more control. That is just the way it always is throughout history.
When people that are in power are seeking more power for power’s sake.
Yes. That’s why we have the constitution that’s pretty remarkable.
To keep that power in check, and allow the human being to pursue its own development and purpose.
Yes. And to move humanity forward in so being free to do so, right? In being free to contribute our individual efforts to the world, to move the whole of humanity forward.
So, they’ve done quite a number on it. As I’ve talked about, written about, I’ve been involved in activism for years, that alerted me more than it may have other people that medical fascism was the way they were going to try to do this. And they sure have. So, what do we do? And for those who resonate with where we’re at and what we’re seeing, how do we play a part in this to move things in the right direction? I would say that, let’s also acknowledge that there’s quite a spectrum of our capacity for each one of us. One of the wonderful numbers, or I shouldn’t say wonderful. One of the brilliant numbers they’ve done on us is really make our livelihoods contingent on compliance with these tyrannical measures
And these measures also being inherently dehumanizing of the other. So, so many ways that we gather our strength and inspiration and purpose to live our lives fully is through the relationships and connections we have with others that bring meaning and purpose to our lives. And so when you remove the opportunities for real and frequent relationship and relating to others––the isolation that occurs and the lack, the purposelessness that can descend on people, which then eliminates health, mental health, emotional health, social health, wellbeing, and makes for a weaker people, and less full of fight.
And, it’s so obvious why these curfews now are being put into effect. And of course, it’s so obvious why the lockdowns were put into effect. To stop people from coming together, sharing their ideas about what’s going on, sharing their feelings about what’s going on, coming together in solidarity and affirmation and reinforcement and connection. This is all by design, but especially this new nonsense of these curfews, of stopping people from being together after 10 o’clock out and about, when we let down, when the rhythm of the day moves into those late hours of relaxation and…
Yeah. And quiet connection. You know, those are the dangerous times for the tyrannical forces, because that is when we are most open to each other. That is when we can share and we can strategize, and we can…
Be inspired and spark each other to let that light travel and grow. You know, it’s through connection that we grow. And if we are limiting that, it makes that connection that much more difficult and that much more necessary and vital for those of us that are seeing this to pursue it and to shine it out to one another––to be beacons, to be lighthouses in a way, to share and stand up where we see fit so that others are heartened and strengthened by that.
Yes. So to continue connecting with each other, in whatever capacity and way we have. And there are many different forms of communication. I mean, certainly one is facial expression face. Which is also why they are pushing these masks on us.
What’s also interesting about that––because I’m somewhere where I do have to comply to be able to live…
And to do your work, your very important work.
Yes, to connect, to be a teacher and to connect with young people. Though you know, I abhorred the idea of even purchasing a mask, and I don’t want to make an official mask, but I found these clear ones because as a teacher, I wanted my students to be able to see me. And those are no longer acceptable. Not because I don’t think it’s…I think it’s really because there is a gesture to not see the face. People that are wearing these––I mean, you don’t get to see all this––but face shields, right? To keep the droplets from being exposed. But it’s not sufficient any longer. You can’t go into certain grocery stores. Not all. Certain grocery stores you can’t go in if you have a clear mask. Because it’s about the humanity of the face. It’s, it’s not, I mean, I can’t. Anyway, I digress.
I know, I know. And, yeah, we could go down a rabbit hole right now, but to keep it short––I was also speaking with this woman, the same woman I was talking about, who will in certain situations wear a mask to make people feel comfortable and other times not wear a mask. And I explained to her that for me, what’s important to do is demonstrate where I stand. I think politeness is overrated at this moment in time, provided we are not harming anyone else. And I feel certain I am not by not wearing a mask. I want to let others know––others who suspect that this is nonsense or wrong, or certainly should not be mandated. I mean, that’s of course my main issue. My main issue is any mandate like that. If somebody wants to walk around breathing through a mask, more power to them, whatever.
But I want to demonstrate that I do not abide by these mandates, and I also don’t even abide by wearing them. And I want to let others know who suspect the same that there are more of us out here than they may realize. So I think that it is important right now that we––in whatever way we can––demonstrate what we believe, what our convictions are and where we stand. In every single way that we can. Because if we do not do that, now, if we take steps to, “Hmm, let’s just do this because it’s makes things a little easier,” or “I don’t want to make people uncomfortable” or, you know, in my case, “Uh, I want my daughter to have this opportunity and maybe it’s not so much to ask me to do this or that.” Uh uh uh. I feel it’s a black and white issue right now, and that it’s such a slippery slope. For anyone with any critical observation powers, we can see the slippery slope already this year. Let’s look where we were in March…
It’s been very, very slippery and very quick.
It’s now like a steep ice hill, right? So it’s now or never, folks. Take tiny steps, take larger steps, take whatever step you can to exercise your freedom to be who you are and to do what you know is right. That’s it. That’s what we can do right now because we still can. We still can.
To shine that courage for truth. Because we each can shine that light the world at large and to one another to grow it. I mean, that’s how we have to do it. We have to grow it.
Yes. Yes. And I can promise that every step we take with courage helps us be more and more courageous for the larger and larger challenges we face that require more and more courage. If right now we don’t take courageous steps where we think that it doesn’t matter that much, then if and when a time comes that we need some heavy duty courage, it won’t have been stored there.
Well, it won’t have been exercised and won’t be accessible. So courage, and you know, when I say that, I want to say love because with love, love gives courage to us when we don’t think we have it. So I’ll preach love and courage today.
Yeah. I, I agree with that. I believe that what I am doing is certainly for the greater good. I certainly believe that the steps I’m taking to exercise my freedoms is for the benefit of all. Right?
Yep. Love, love for humanity and humanity’s potential, my own potential, my children’s potential of what we’re here on earth to do and be.
Our grandhildren’s potential and our great grandchildren’s potential and so on and so forth. And you know, I would say along with the love and courage, faith. Faith in whatever way you’ve developed it, whatever way it resonates to you, whatever way you find it. Faith that there is something deep inside and connecting to all that cannot be taken away. Recognize that. It is our humanity. If we insist on holding onto that, it cannot be taken away, no matter what one is put through you, you always have that. Because I believe that that humanity also contains that divine spark and that connection. So we always have that, provided, we claim it. And even if it is for our great, great, great grandchildren. Even if we live through greater darkness and challenge, let’s hold on to that. Let’s exercise that humanity. So, okay.
While this year has brought us all unforeseen challenges, what hasn’t been discussed enough is how unable we are to relate to the way others are perceiving and managing their concerns. It’s not a clear cut divide, but there are two general camps. One group’s paramount concern is about transmission of a virus, and they subscribe to the notion that we––and the government––must do everything possible to prevent it, control it, avoid it, apparently no matter the cost. The other group’s paramount concern is the level of restriction the government has imposed on us to control the virus.
All these folks express themselves and their beliefs in more or less extreme ways. Some demonstrate by example and conduct, and others shout loudly. And while differences in approach to all of life’s concerns are to be expected, most of us are startled by the difference between reactions to the COVID situation.
There’s no point in beating around the bush––in this piece or otherwise. I have been opposed to all the restrictions various governments have imposed to ostensibly control this virus since the beginning. I have already had plenty of experience with the government justifying measures and mandates under cover of the threat of infectious disease. The pharmaceutical industry has been funding legislative efforts in many US states and beyond to remove religious and personal belief exemptions from vaccine mandates for years, and I have been actively involved in opposing such measures. I am very familiar with their tactics and strategies.
I am also probably more knowledgeable than the average person about the history of infectious disease in the developed world, our immune system, the human microbiome, and human health in general. I am not afraid of germs in isolation, and I know that mask wearing, lack of human physical contact and not being allowed to earn a living are diametrically opposed to health and wellness. I also know that hiding from a virus is nonsense––as is much of the prevailing “medical” paradigm and approach to health and wellness. Just check out most of the crap food being served to sick patients in hospitals or children in schools––or all the remarkably fat, unhealthy “health practitioners” and “public health officials” telling the public how to stay “safe.” It would be laughable if it weren’t the reality.
That being said, and my position clearly established, I am writing this piece to and for the folks who see or suspect what I see. I am writing for the folks who thought these lockdowns and masks would be temporary, but who now realize it’s gone on for far too long. I am writing for the folks who understand that putting a mask on to enter a restaurant and walk to the table then removing it to eat is the purview of idiots. And I am writing it for folks who understand that we can’t stop living to prevent dying.
I recently came across this article: What it takes to preserve friendship amid deep divisions over politics and COVID-19. While I appreciate and respect its emphasis on unity and spirit of compassion and “affability” it describes, the piece minimizes the significance of the difference between such fundamental perspectives. Author Brandon McGinley writes, “But when friendship can only withstand the barest of differences, like favorite colors and pizza toppings, then something is wrong. Community isn’t possible when we only tolerate unanimity, when we only want to be friends with slightly altered versions of ourselves.”
When we subscribe to an entirely different model of health than another person––when one person regards another person’s very breath or touch as a bioweapon, while the other person would welcome a hug or maskless conversation with their friend––this is a significantly greater challenge to any sort of relationship between the two people than favoring different colors or pizza toppings. Moreover, when one person supports a government’s authority to shut the other person’s business down and criminalize them for not wearing a mask or getting “too close” to others, how––or why––would they consider themselves “friends?”
Anyone who would support restrictions which would destroy my family’s livelihood is no friend of mine. And anyone who subscribes to this paradigm that legally requires me and my children to perpetually breathe through a piece of cloth and stay 6 feet away from them or their playmates is no one I have any interest in spending time with.
These issues are fundamental, existential and core to who we are. Differences in our approach to health notwithstanding, anyone who would physically and materially impose their beliefs on me and my children has crossed a line. Everyone and anyone should have the freedom to restrict their own breathing and limit their ability to make a living or have their kids attend school––but the advocates of government lockdowns, mask mandates and legally enforced social distancing have demonstrated support for a form of government that the Constitution of the United States seems to have been written to prevent. Support for such broad and sweeping governmental authority offends much more than my political sensibilities. It threatens my and my family’s basic freedoms––and therefore our lives.
How can such fundamental differences co-exist in a friendship, much less a community or country?
In times of ease, differences in politics, spirituality and religious belief, existential understandings, even fundamental principles can be navigated much more easily. Our relationships can go very deep or stay light and superficial, depending on what’s required to maintain the status quo. The old adage, “Never discuss politics or religion in polite company” only applies to times of ease in order to avoid conflict at the dinner table/in social gatherings in order that you don’t alienate your kids’ best friend’s mom, so that you and your drinking buddies can have a laugh without it getting heavy, so that your sister-in-law’s sensibilities aren’t so offended that every Thanksgiving dinner going forward is super awkward.
But a world in crisis is not the time to just make polite small talk. When the cities are shuttered, when people’s livelihoods have been taken away from them, when everyone is waking up to each day in one crisis mode or another (many still terrified of a virus), polite small talk no longer gets us through. And that’s when the way we’ve operated all our lives becomes more starkly revealed.
Moreover, these differences in philosophy of government, principles of basic freedom and understanding of human rights have not recently developed. Nor have folks’ limits changed in terms of what they will and won’t comply with––and what they will and won’t compromise. Your friends and family who suddenly seem to have transformed into residents of Stepford are not different than they were last year. And folks you suddenly find yourselves more aligned with aren’t either.
An old friend of mine and I recently reconnected. She expressed fascination and curiosity about my shift in politics, my support for President Trump and more. Like many Trump supporters these days, I used to be a Democrat. I told her I’d try to put some of my thoughts and experiences down on paper to shed some light on my shift from Left to Right.
I grew up in Democratic campaign headquarters in the Chicago area. My father ran campaigns for local politicians in the area, as well as regional campaigns for national Democratic candidates. Our family photo albums show my dad with Teddy Kennedy, Birch Bayh and other politicians on the campaign trail. My dad was a fierce and loyal supporter of the party and particularly the Kennedy family whom he felt embodied the ideals of the party with Arthurian nobility.
I grew up with the implicit understanding that the ends justified the means. That every politician had to get their hands dirty to stay in power. And that staying in power was critical to making sure the good guys won.
I voted Democrat in every election for every office all my life. The only debate I’d have with friends or family was over which Democrat to choose––until I got involved in the California state legislative process a few years ago to campaign against a series of medical mandates, as well as to protect educational choice.
The experience opened my eyes, as did subsequent Spring Legislative sessions. The Democrat legislators paid lip service to their constituents, then voted against their concerns as if they didn’t exist. This was the case from the local level all the way up to the state, and crony nepotism loyalty was the unwritten code. When it looked like Dem sponsored bills would die in committee, they would postpone the votes, reshuffle the committees to their favor, then reconvene and pass it through.
The more we looked into it, the more we discovered the industry sponsorship behind the legislation––in our state as well as across the US. While most of us know both parties are sponsored by corporate interests, the most powerful industry by far––the Pharmaceutical Industry––sponsors the Dems. One of the ways Big Pharma increases revenue and profits is through state medical mandates, and the Democrat’s platform of Big Government and the Greater Good is the mechanism by which this is achieved.
I have always worked in business in the private sector, and I had always been a fiscal conservative. But like many of my generation, I thought the more meaningful social issues important to me were best represented by the Dems. I was wrong. When I took a closer look and examined what each party stood for, I realized that I was far more aligned with the Republicans. To me, self reliance, self responsibility and sovereignty of the individual are the cornerstones of a functioning and sustainable person, family, society.
The righteous sanctimony of the Left had actually begun to wear on me in 2008. Even though it would be years before I left the Left, Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow and the rest of MSNBC––at the time my standard go-to for news––started sounding more and more over the top in their sermonizing, virtue signaling, identity politics and celebration of victim culture.
I left the Democratic party before 2016, but it was the 2016 election and all that it revealed about the Left that sent me all the way over to the Right. I’ve liked Donald Trump since I saw him on the Ali G show before America really knew Sacha Baron Cohen’s shtick––when I was living in London in the 90s. Trump saw through it quickly and cut the interview short.
Trump had been publicly critical of the vaccine program for years before entering the race. For anyone who doesn’t know this yet, the vaccine schedule exploded since vaccine manufacturers were released from liability in 1986, and the CDC schedule now recommends 72 doses of vaccines by the time a child is 18 years old.
Auto immune disorders, cancer and autism rates have coincidentally exploded along the same timeline. Despite the relentless propaganda to depict vaccine critics as nutjobs, it doesn’t take a genius to wonder whether there is a connection. Trump has posed such questions, and when Jake Tapper asked about it in the Republican primary debates, Trump confirmed that he had concerns about the schedule and whether it’s connected to the autism epidemic.
His stance on trade, the economy, Common Core, educational choice, the Paris Accord, immigration and more all seemed to make sense to me. Having lived in hyper-regulated Marin County, California for years, I had grown weary of the priority of ENVIRONMENT over business (and I write that as someone who gardens biodynamically and has always been very conscious about living in harmony with the environment as much as reasonably possible.) I find the whole immigration controversy contrived. We’re a country. We have borders. Like any other country’s borders, they need to be crossed legally.
The media and the Left’s demonization of Trump leading up to the election spun way out of control, and in the process, identity politics and victim culture took over the extreme Left like some kind of syndrome. The intolerance of the supposedly tolerant group of Liberal friends I had was off the charts. I’ve lost long time friends and been on the receiving end of a lot of hate and shaming attempts simply because I supported Trump.
We are now terribly grateful to have moved to a particularly Republican stronghold of a Republican state. USA flags wave proudly at almost every house. Veterans like my husband are appreciated and honored with reserved parking spaces and military discounts everywhere we go. Kindness, respect, regard, tolerance, inclusivity and generosity are what we have found in our new community. There is a common sense I find here that is largely missing in the SF Bay Area, and it is the same common sense I found in the minority Conservatives I’d meet back there.
I believe one of the most insidious threats to freedom is political correctness. When folks are afraid to say the wrong thing, they become increasingly afraid to call out absurdity and nonsense––and illogical policies, regulations, and intrusive violations on our basic freedoms can be ushered in and transform our world irreparably. I see this happening on a grand scale in places like the SF Bay Area. And since he entered the race before becoming president, I’ve regarded President Trump’s very politically incorrect manner of speaking and tweeting the necessary antidote.
The folks in my new community are not afraid to speak their truth for fear of being politically incorrect. That doesn’t result in racist, sexist, homophobic epithets, contrary to what the social justice brigade preaches. It results in people calling a spade a spade, speaking up for what they feel to be right, applying their common sense to what they will and won’t accept––and above all, judging a person by their character, and not the color of their skin or the way they look.
That’s probably why Conservatives/Republicans voted for and will vote again for Donald Trump, even though many didn’t and still don’t like his style, his manner, his trappings. In this day and age, I find folks who vote Republican much more accepting of folks’ differences and appearances. I find the Republicans able to get past the superficial aspects and hone in on the core of a person in assessing their character, while the Democrats seem unable to see anything BUT race, gender, sexual orientation and the trappings––or lack thereof––of material wealth.
Which of those groups would you rather spend your time with?
Life is full of risks. And reasonable folks aim to strike a balance by taking prudent measures to reduce the risks without sacrificing life’s rewards.
It’s been a while. Our lives, like everyone else’s have
been pretty up ended and we have had some challenge finding the space and focus
to connect in this way that we did pre lockdown time, but we realized how
important it is to move forward and move this dialogue forward as well and move
our thinking and progress along. So we’ve got to get on with it. And we’ve
talked at length off camera about all of this and we’ve each got our own
opinion about it as does everyone out there. But the time has come I think to
move out of this grand experiment, if we want to call it that. As I was
mentioning, ABC7 News a couple of days ago you know, said “Suicides on the
rise, amid mid stay at home order, Bay area medical professionals say.” So
the doctors at John Muir medical center in Walnut Creek, they’ve seen more
deaths by suicide during this quarantine period than deaths from the virus
itself. And they’re calling to end the shelter in place order because it’s doing
more damage on, really, infinite levels of our lives than any virus really, in
my estimation, ever could. But he said the numbers are unprecedented. We’ve
never seen numbers like this in such a short period of time. We’ve seen a
year’s worth of suicide attempts in the last four weeks. Which is so
heartbreaking, when you just sit with the implications of that and just try to
connect to folks, especially, you know, we were talking––the younger folks in
the world who don’t have the anchor of their family, their kids, a life that
has been somewhat established, an identity, a trajectory that has been somewhat
established in life as we, as older folks have.
It breaks my heart to even try to put myself in their
shoes. Kids in college who are facing the prospect of not going back to campus
and having some virtual reality world where they can’t meet people, you know,
folks who aren’t dating, who can’t go date and can’t go just connect to their
friends, which is such a part of their own discovery and emerging identity
To connect to their teachers, for their teachers to
connect to them. My son who ended up having to do the remaining of his college
year online, he said, “even if we had a pretty decent class,”––which
was challenging in itself just to have dialogue and discourse over zoom––he
said, but then even if that, there wasn’t ever the feeling of completion that
you have when you finish a class and you walk out and you’re chatting with the
classmate or you’re chatting with the teacher to kind of wrap up those threads
that have been inspired. Here it’s just, poof! Now you’re back in your room and
you, you know, how does that get harnessed? You know, those threads of
creation, not to get too abstract in it, but they’re lost. They just go and
they’re done. And people are left sitting still in their place by themselves
going, “Where am I? What is my purpose?”
And “What just happened? What is this
experience?” And I won’t get too much into it either, but some of the
dialogue circulating around on social media right now regarding the CDC’s
recommendations for reopening schools––it sounds like beyond a dystopian
nightmare, right? Social distancing? Staying apart? Being put in this isolation
chair, essentially? As a child? I mean, don’t even get me started. And so, you
know, we won’t make this a real long one, and I’m sure it’s going to provoke
outrage in many folks who will say, But…”
“People are dying.”
People are dying. People ARE dying. People have always
been dying. You know, 600,000 plus annual deaths from heart disease in the U.S.
Alone, 500,000 plus deaths from cancer each year in the U.S. Alone, 250,000
plus deaths attributed to medical errors alone in the U.S. People die.
And those are the ones that are caught. Those are the ones
that are noticed and documented.
Right. And you know, death is a part of life, Folks, first
And saying that doesn’t minimize the suffering and the
hardship and the pain that everyone goes through when there is loss and tragedy
that comes to your family. It is terrible. It’s suffering. It hurts. It’s
It’s inconceivable. It’s inconceivable pain of course,
when, when people die, when we lose people. And yeah, it sounds like I’m saying
it flippantly, but I’m simply stating the fact of life that death is a part of
it. This absurd notion now, you know, after we first start out with
“flattening the curveand making sure that we’ve got the resources to care
for people”––down to “We must prevent…”
“…All Death.” We’ve gone off the deep end
here, Folks, and lost sight of any measured and reasonable approach to life’s
risk benefit analysis. Right?
And just to chime in and flesh that out just a little bit.
So with that flattening the curve, I mean the understanding that was given
with, with these orders was to flatten the curve. Meaning everyone still needs
to come in contact with this, but we don’t want to overwhelm our systems of
care. So right there we are now creating some, there’s some other dialogue
happening. There’s some other directive coming. It’s not about flattening the
curve. It’s just “stay in your house forever? Don’t come in contact with
it because we don’t want to contract it when what we do need to do is contract
it and probably way more people have come in contact with it. There was an
article that said that it’s beennow there’s cases from September in the US,
Right now we think it may have started in September. Yes.
I am sure that much of the population has already gone through it. But just
like anything, the healthy members of a population of course should let it
circulate, develop some resistance, immunity, and then let it move on out.
Let’s protect the vulnerable members of our society. Reasonably though, right?
It doesn’t mean that we should destroy our businesses, lives families and
become destitute so that none of us can take care of anything in order to
prevent that. Anyway.
So we obviously know how I feel about this as I have felt
about it the whole time. But as it’s gone on and become far more extreme and
destructive, it is time to end this madness. And as someone brilliant just said
to me not long ago, we’ve talked about this, we cannot stop living in order to
prevent dying. We must be measured and balanced in everything that we do here
and this virtual reality world isn’t cutting it. And I do not consent to this
bizarre, abstract, disconnected world that some folks seem to be wanting to
create. I absolutely support anyone who wants to walk around with a mask on for
the rest of their lives even or with some six foot bubble in each direction. I
support anyone who wants to stay home as long as they want.
I do not want to do that. That is not the world that I am
bringing my children into. And that is not a future world really, I think that
most people want to be living in.
And it’s not sustainable because we are social beings,
right? And we need to be making connection and our children need to be making
connection to find their way in the world. And the world. What world is that
we’re making? I mean that’s really the thing that has been hitting me intensely
is that this world that we’re making right now for our young people, these
moments are huge. And to normalize the separation of humanity is wrong. It’s a
wrong thing for them to be experiencing and living in. Yeah. And I, we need
contact, real contact––and these gestures of pushing in to create more distance
in a world that’s already so distant and isolated––which is why we have people
making suicide attempts at such a rate because there’s no, the connection is
what keeps us human. Connection and purpose, right? Having meaning in our life
and, and caring for others, being cared for by others is one of the main things
that gives us meaning in this world.
Yes. So end the lockdown and do not reverse course. Let’s
open all this up. Let’s start living our lives again. Fully. Let’s start
hugging. Let’s start hanging out. And many people are. I’m seeing it
everywhere. People are starting to disregard this because it makes no sense. So
we cannot stop living in order to prevent dying, otherwise, there’s no point in
being alive in the first place. Let’s all remember that.
We must eradicate from the soul
All fear and terror of what comes towards man out of the future.
We must acquire serenity
In all feelings and sensations about the future.
We must look forward with absolute equanimity
To everything that may come.
And we must think only that whatever comes
Is given to us by a world-directive full of wisdom.
It is part of what we must learn in this age,
namely, to live out of pure trust,
Without any security in existence.
Trust in the ever present help
Of the spiritual world.
Truly, nothing else will do
If our courage is not to fail us.
And let us seek the awakening from within ourselves
Every morning and every evening.
Hi, Thea and folks who are connecting with us. We wanted to just say a couple of things in a short one today. First off, everyone is impacted by what’s going on in the world, and what I want to make clear is that Thea and I are dramatically impacted by what’s going on in the world. And I’m not saying that for sympathy, but to just make it clear that these recordings are not coming out of a place of comfort and ease, but in spite of some lack of that. In order to also demonstrate that we can meet each moment and each day with courage and hope, no matter how you know, how insecure one may feel given one’s situation. And I won’t go into all the details about that right now. But that being said, I want to also talk about something that is becoming clear to me. Carlos Castaneda wrote of what his teacher taught him were called the flying fish in this world. Rudolph Steiner also speaks of these beings as do many other seers and, and wise folk throughout humanity, and the ancient religions and texts and cultures. And essentially these beings are, for want of a better description, psychic parasites.
And what is clear to me right now is that––whether one’s
fear is of a virus, or one’s fear is of economic instability, or one’s fear is
of descending totalitarianism––or all three, these fears must not be fed if we
are to move things in the right direction. And in order to help with that, I’m
going to ask that you read or recite a Steiner verse, a very short Steiner
verse addressing this.
Okayj. We must eradicate from the soul all fear and terror
of what comes toward us out of the future. We must acquire serenity in all
feelings and sensations about the future. We must look forward with absolute
equanimity to everything that may come. And we must think that whatever comes
is given to us by a world directive full of wisdom. It is part of what we must
learn in this age, namely to live out of pure trust, trust in the ever present
help of the spiritual world. Truly nothing else will do if our courage is not
to fail us. Let us develop our will and let us seek the awakening within
ourselves every morning and every evening.
Thank you. And finally, I’d like to conclude with the fact
that Thea sent me a couple minute video of her yesterday dancing in the rain.
Moving and dancing in the rain. And I was so struck by it and struck by its
demonstration and inhabitation and celebration of our humanity. And it inspired
me. And I want to tag this on the end of this in hopes that it inspires you. In
the face of adversity, in the face of insecurity, in the face of anxiety––we
must embrace our humanity, exercise our humanity, and celebrate our humanity.
It’s important now more than ever, I assure you. Okay. All right. Thanks so
much. Until next time, Folks. I love you.
Okay, well we’ll try this. We’ve got some funky signal
going on, but…So we’ve been talking about the situation here and the
mindfulness we want to bring to our humanity, to remember how critical our
humanity is at this time in the face of measures that might falsely lead us to
believe that we are smaller than we are.
And that that came out of different conversations you and
I have been having and observations that I’ve been having with regards to
working and doing things online whereas normally in my life, I have to do very
little online. And I’ve been blessed in that way to have real human interaction
in my work. But having meetings and such online has given me the experience of
what it’s like to be in that world. And people I know are using this all over
the place. And the experience of being online, my kids are having it now for
the first time, really. And it’s very different, very different than having
real exchange, you know, so we’re all struggling a little bit. And I had been
observing that coming to this, this frame that we are in right now in this
virtual world in a certain way-–though it echoes an aspect of our relationship
or the way we would engage normally––it’s like on one plane of that rather than
the rainbow color of all of those nuances that we can perceive and send out to
one another in real face time, physically together. So on line, it brings our
attention to this small point which I’m experiencing right now and you are,
we’re here in our realm but focusing in this one little space. And that’s not a
bad thing, but it can be something that encourages or supports the idea that we
are smaller than we are rather than the vast beings that we are.
I have been now playing with this idea and the practice of
when I’m out and getting groceries or doing something that I’m able to go do,
rather than looking at this six feet of physical distancing from people as the
separation, I’m looking at it now as a draw to fill my six feet of space around
me and that others can fill their six feet in that––I think of Leonardo da
Vinci’s The Vitruvian Man and expand that farther out into the distance,
because as human beings we are much bigger than we often give ourselves credit
to be. And one more thing to add to that is that when I am experiencing a
fullness of my full space all around me, there is no space for fear. That is
the other part that had come in our conversation that when we come into a small
point and we’re existing in a small field, there’s a lot of room for fear to
fill up those realms around us. And if we, I had the thought in our last
conversation, but a little bit of like the ripples in the water that we are
those and we send those out from ourselves, those ripples. And if we’re filling
up that space, there’s no rippling of fear from me to you, from you to me, from
you to anyone, me to anyone. That instead we’re filling it with this whatever
we picture right? What do we see in that? Is it fear or is it love? And in that
is love. And so if we can, as people, fill our individual spaces with love in a
bigger way than we’ve ever thought to do before, and we picture that in the
entire world around our Earth and into the whole universe, I mean, it’s pretty
powerful. And it reminds me of how powerful we are because we actually get to
do that right now. We can be asked to fill up the space with love, with what it
is to be a human being with light, with love, and with power.
Yes. Thank you. And with that in mind, I’m going to ask
people to be a bit quiet while I’m recording.
But in a loving way. It’s a lot warmer there than it is
here today. I’m in wool socks and a sweater…
It’s so sunny and beautiful and warm. But as we know, the
signal’s a little bit funkier outside there. But yeah, and we should remind
ourselves that sunlight is the path to health, right?
The right amount of sunlight, I will say, I have some rain
right now too.
I get you. So I love all that. And also with that in mind,
I feel as if the work that we’re doing here right now is so critical. How we
respond. How we meet our challenges right now is so critical. Our humanity is
critical to the All and as above, so below. And so it is ever, ever critical
for us to bring that mindfulness to every moment, every gesture, every day we
wake up with the situation as it is. And then also following on that, we
discovered we were going to try to say The Great invocation together. And we
discovered that another limitation of this type of communication is that you
cannot speak at the same time.
Which means you can’t sing or harmonize together either.
Right. Which is something we need to really look at as
there might be a tendency to rely so much on this kind of communication as if
it can serve us instead of our human communication and connection. This must be
temporary. This must be a temporary measure. So with that also comes the conversation
we were having about the work that people do with The Great Invocation and it’s
called Triangles. And there’s a network, a worldwide network of people who have
been saying The Great Invocation daily for many, many, many years since it came
into existence. And the interesting thing about it is that you don’t have to,
you form a triangle with two other people. They might be across the world even.
You don’t need to say it at the same time, you don’t even have to be in the
same place because time and space are transcended. And so you can say it and
then I’ll say it, but we’re still saying it all together and it still brings
that same power to this plane.
And it sure is applicable, you know. I mean, I am so
grateful to have had this in our lives. And as we’re in these moments together,
it just expands. That’s what it feels like.
So I’ll start and then you will as well. Well, add a layer
every day maybe. Hopefully.
From the point of light within the mind of God, let light
stream forth into the minds of men. Let light descend on Earth. From the point
of love within the heart of God, let love stream forth into the hearts of men.
May Christ return to Earth. From the center where the will of God is known, let
purpose guide the little wills of men, the purpose which the masters know and
serve. From the center which we call the race of men, let the plan of love and
light work out and may it seal the door where evil dwells. Let love and light
and power restore the plan on Earth.
Amen. From the point of light within the mind of God, let
light stream forth into the minds of men. Let light descend on Earth. From the
point of love within the heart of God, let love stream forth into the hearts of
men. May Christ return to Earth. From the center where the will of God is
known, let purpose guide the little wills of men, the purpose which the masters
know and serve. From the center which we call the race of men, let the plan of
love and light work out and may it seal the door where evil dwells. Let light
and love and power restore the plan on Earth. Amen. All right. Right on. Let’s
keep this going. And please, anyone who would like to join in, the more we say
this, the more opportunity we have to bring it all forth, to manifest the world
that we want to create.
From the point of Light within the Mind of God Let light stream forth into the minds of men. Let Light descend on Earth.
From the point of Love within the Heart of God Let love stream forth into the hearts of men. May Christ* return to Earth.
From the centre where the Will of God is known Let purpose guide the little wills of men – The purpose which the Masters know and serve.
From the centre which we call the race of men Let the Plan of Love and Light work out And may it seal the door where evil dwells.
Let Light and Love and Power restore the Plan on Earth.
*Many religions believe in a World Teacher, a “Coming One”, knowing him under such names as the Lord Maitreya, the Imam Mahdi, the Kalki Avatar and the Bodhisattva. These terms are sometimes used in versions of the Great Invocation for people of specific faiths.
Hi everyone. It’s been some time since I’ve recorded anything or posted anything. And it’s some time that we are living in right now. I’m going to keep this short, but I’m going to invite you to say this along with me. It’s called The Great Invocation and it’s something that I have incorporated into my own daily routine for a number of years. And I’ll post the words to it along with this recording, as well as a link to explain its history and how it came to be. It’s been around for a long time, and I think it is important and needed now more than ever. And the more of us that say it daily, the more chance we have of bringing it forth and manifesting what can be. And so here goes:
From the point of Light within the Mind of God Let light
stream forth into the minds of men. Let Light descend on Earth. From the point
of Love within the Heart of God Let love stream forth into the hearts of men.
May Christ return to Earth. From the center where the Will of God is known Let
purpose guide the little wills of men – The purpose which the Masters know and
serve. From the center which we call the race of men Let the Plan of Love and
Light work out And may it seal the door where evil dwells. Let Light and Love
and Power restore the Plan on Earth.
Have folks replaced traditional religion with an unquestioning faith in the doctrine they call “Science?”
VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW:
Anne: 00:01 Okay.
Here we are again with Drake on the East coast. Thea down in Southern California,
me, Anne, up here in Northern California. And last time we got together we
talked about organized religion. And again, I want to just briefly preface this
dialogue just like all the others with an explanation of why we’re doing this.
It’s, it’s really just an examination. It’s asking questions. It is an attempt
to find perhaps new language for a growing, ever expanding consciousness as
we––as I understand––are moving into a new age. And so here we are again. We
spoke about organized religion last time and while I have a great deal of
respect for the practice of organized religion, all that it offers, a
foundation of morality and a guideline for growing, positive living. I also see
some downsides to it. And what we discussed last time was the tendency sometimes
to get stuck in a fixed set of beliefs which don’t then promote continued
examination and looking at things from a new perspective, which then in turn
doesn’t support learning. And for us to expand our consciousness, for us to
continue moving forward and grow, we need to keep learning. And so following
that, I’d like to discuss just briefly in this brief conversation what I see as
a kind of new secularist religion called “Scientism.” And it’s a term
that is being bandied about more and more these days. It’s a distinction
between actual science––which is a method of observation and measurement and
theory based on those observations and measurements and experiments––versus a
doctrine. And before we started recording, Drake and I were talking a little bit
about my experience––and I think we’ve all had this experience where, whether
it’s climate change, whether it’s medicine,vaccines or really any area where
science has brought us to an understanding and a practice and a theory––I’m
finding that when people challenge those theories, whether it’s in social
media, online debates, or in person, often, even if I, for example, provide
studies that challenge the consensus, the response will be “It’s science.
Don’t you understand science?” Do either of you have this experience?
Drake: 03:48 Yeah.
Something that came up for me when you were talking, Anne, was the way that
people appeal, not so much to the method of science, but to science as some
sort of credible, accepted institution. Right? That things need to be peer
reviewed and pass through a certain number of tests or examinations before they
are accepted as, you know, science. And in thinking of what it means to
challenge that practice––because really if one’s going to have faith in a
methodology, it seems to me that you need to actually examine what that method
is taking for granted. Like what, what a certain type of methodology is taking
for granted. And something that I’ve been learning over this past year, as my
education has continued, is that every single science has its presuppositions
that it has to take for granted. I wouldn’t pretend to know anything very
complex about any of these sciences like biology or physics or chemistry but I
do know that, or I think I know, that for example, biology takes the existence
of life for granted, right? Like it goes back to very basic presuppositions that
it has to assume that, or the science can’t work. And I think there’s other
suppositions that kind of weave themselves into the method of science.
Drake: 05:33 And
if those aren’t examined then I think science can result in wrong conclusions.
Like, I think of like if you’re, if you’re trying to draw two parallel lines
and it’s a little bit off in the beginning,, then a mile down the road, it’s
going to be way, way off. Well and something I thought of that I learned about
last semester was a guy named William Harvey in England who basically figured
out that the blood was a system of circulation. You know, he figured out that
the blood, that the heart pumps the blood through, you know, that it passes
around the lungs. Then it goes to the other, you know, different ventricles of
the heart, goes through the entire body and then circulates back to be re
oxygenated. And he figured that out by questioning the established doctrine of
the time, which was Galenism. And because Galen said no, the heart does this
specific function only and that was it––and that was the accepted thinking in
the universities––and Harvey started cutting open, he started dissecting
animals and going, actually that doesn’t make sense. Like he had to question
the method of actually, the method of the practice of the anatomical science at
the time to make this breakthrough. And so it seems like that should still
Thea: 06:52 And
we could then take that same gesture or standpoint of not just going with what
you’re given. It’s that you have to continuously be testing and making
observation about your practice of religion, your practice of science or the
method of science.
Anne: 07:15 Drake
just left us for a moment. Okay. He’s back.
Thea: 07:24 So
I was just saying that it seems like that’s the same sort of point that we were
talking about––organized religion––is that, stay awake! Stay awake and pay
attention that you don’t hand over your own seeing to another. And in terms of
the practice of science and observation, that has to continue, you know,
recognizing this is a presupposition, this is where we’re starting from, but
that’s not the whole totality of whatever it is we’re observing or studying
because you’re given this presupposition to start from.
Anne: 08:01 Yes,
absolutely. I agree. I try to constantly question. But even within those
sciences, which are founded on a presupposition, I’m seeing a dangerous lack of
critical thinking when people are working with these theories, discussing these
theories. Let me go on a little bit of a tangent. There is a lawn sign I have
been seeing a lot up here––I don’t know if you guys have something similar down
there––which makes a few, there’s a few statements. I find it absurd. It seems
like a virtue signaling type of thing, but it says something like “women’s
rights are human rights,” “black lives matter,” “love is
love,” whatever that means. And “science is real.” And
“science is real.” What does that mean? And so, you know, that’s what
I’m, I’m focused on right now. It’s beyond the fact that Drake, what you’re
saying is, is absolutely true. We need to constantly question even the
foundations of our working theories. Otherwise we’re going to get stuck in a
more and more narrow framework of theory. So we have to constantly question
even its foundation, re-examine it. But beyond that, we have to recognize that
science itself is simply a method. It is not a truth. I don’t really even know
how to get my head around saying something like, “science is real.” I
don’t understand it when people say to me––in response to me challenging germ
theory even, right? We are developing a new understanding of our immune system
and the human microbiome, virome, and the fact that the environment of our body
is a huge factor in terms of whether or not one person contracts a disease
versus another person who is exposed to the same virus or bacteria. Right? So
that is is shifting, that is growing, that is expanding. We’re developing a new
understanding of this. When I present this information or present studies that
demonstrate, that challenge, the idea that, “Oh, it’s just the germ that
makes someone sick,” someone will say “It’s science. Don’t you get
science?” Without even having to discuss the argument.
Drake: 11:40 Well
that’s funny, for it seems like they’re not even, they’re not even discussing
the science then. Because the science, science is just a chain of reasoning
within a certain set of parameters. Like, to do science is to reason your way
with certain parameters that, you know, at least in modern science, that you’ve
set for yourself and to the conclusion that follows. So, when you’re talking
about these lawn signs that are saying “science is real,” that sounds
to me like putting a sign in your lawn that says, you know, “logic is
real.” Like absolutely, logic is real. But logic can be wrong. You can
have, you can have conclusions that are logically true, but if your premises
are wrong, the logic is false. Like, so same thing. A chain of reasoning is
real. Yes, definitely real. But it can still be wrong.
Thea: 12:29 Well
the combination of statements on the sign is curious to me. What does science
have to do with, you know, rights of human beings having the right to be, and
be safe, you know? But it also then leads to that thought that that’s really
just that “science is real” is a belief. So it is now outside of the
scope of logic or reason. Saying, “science is real” is like, that
sounds like a doctrine.
Drake: 13:00 Not
Anne: 13:00 Yeah,
and I don’t remember now what, I think there was a climate change statement on
that one too. Right? So, you know, and that’s where I’m––for the sake of time
we won’t get too much into it––but that’s where I am wanting to explore what I
do see as kind of a new religion. So Scientism often––it includes the doomsday
prophecy of climate change, right? I’m not on any level suggesting that the
climate isn’t changing. But whereas peak oil theory was Scientism’s doomsday
theory prophecy in the naughts, right? The two thousands. Now it seems like
it’s, “Ah! Climate change! We’ve got to change our ways!” It’s kind
of, it’s the new religion’s Apocalyptic prophecy and warning. So we’ve got that
going on. And then we also have this very fixed set of beliefs that…what I am
seeing you know, I see the priests of Scientism––and not saying the good ones,
the good scientists, the good doctors are always examining, are always
questioning––but I am seeing people grant authority over themselves. I think
they are giving the authority to doctors, to scientists, to the experts to tell
them what is and what isn’t, what they should and shouldn’t do.
Thea: 14:58 Creating
a reality there.
Anne: 14:59 In
a similar way that the downside of organized religion, I think, handed that
over to the priest. So we’re coming up to 15 minutes and I know Drake has to
get going, but I think this is something to examine. I think that for all of
the secularists’ focus on rejection of organized religion, to me it seems as if
they simply replaced it with a new religion.
Drake: 15:40 New
Anne: 15:43 It’s
a new authority. So that’s what it is, Drake. It’s a new authority. Whereas God
and the priests are not their authority. Science as a God, almost? And the
priests of that Scientism is the authority? Is that right?
Drake: 16:08 I
wonder. Yeah. It’s like, it’s just, it seems very comforting to me to think of
people who don’t screw up. You know, like I didn’t grow up in organized
religion so I didn’t, I guess I didn’t grow up with a conception that there’s
always someone watching out for me doing the exact right thing––of a God figure
or a priest figure. But a lot of people that I speak to, just lately, talk
about science as if it’s some group of people somewhere who don’t mess up. And
that’s appealing, right? Like that’s nice to think that there might be people
that don’t mess up, but it’s not true.
Thea: 16:46 Well,
because it’s taking it from the religious realm, where there was faith involved
and the unseen––to the realm of “it’s reason and logic and that is above
all what we can trust. And it’s real.” So it’s interesting because we do
believe in reason and logic and those are good. But like you said, Drake, if
the beginning realm that the reason follows is off, then you have something
that’s false and now you have people believing it, or saying “it’s
real” in particular arenas.
Anne: 17:25 Or
simply if we missed something in our observations, that we then finally pick
up, well that’s going to change the working theory and that’s going to change
the entire model. Right?
Thea: 17:39 Can
I say one more quick thing? The thing that always––and science is not my
practice, I mean observation is though, so I guess in one way it is––the thing
that has always blown my mind learning the scientific method was that you could
only test that which you could conceive of. And so everything is limited there
in terms of creating theories and working theories. It’s only based upon what
you already know or think you know, and that right there is like, what?
Anne: 18:15 Right.
Your own reality. It’s only based on the reality that you can observe at that
moment. And as we all know, even from the time, like we said in the last one,
from the time you’re five years old to the time you’re seventy five years old,
our consciousness, our perceptions, our realities change. We perceive more,
differently. Right? So the same goes every day. So anyway, let’s get going and
pick this up I think next time, as we’re kind of formulating the discussion for
Thea: 18:50 Sounds
good. Thanks so much guys. Nice to see you.
Drake: 18:53 Alright.
Anne: 18:53 Alright,
let me, let me stop recording. You too.
How does consciousness grow if we subscribe to a fixed set of beliefs?
VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW:
Anne: 00:00 Okay. Hello there. We’ve got Drake from the East Coast. Thea down in SoCal. Me up here in Northern Cal. We’re going to try to make this quite a short one because Drake has to leave. So I want to start this out by talking just a little bit about why we’re doing these, this series of discussions, Thea and I often talk like this all the time anyway as do Drake and I when we have a chance to be together and we thought it would be a good idea to just share it with others who might be having some of the same streams of thought or questions and want to join in to the discussion. The tagline on the website, on the Sacred Osiris website is: Into the Age of the Fifth Sun, and that refers to the Mayan calendar, the Mayan elder prophecies that we are in transition and moving into a new age, which corresponds to many other prophecies of ancient texts and religions.
Anne: 01:15 Even
astrologically moving out of the age of Pisces into the age of Aquarius. So I
perceive us––of course, we hopefully are always moving forward in
consciousness. Hopefully we are always growing and developing and expanding our
consciousness. Evolving. But if we are between ages, marked ages, this transition
is likely even more dramatic. And perhaps we could use even a little bit more
attention and effort as we, as we find new language to express this transition
and perhaps new conceptions and new consciousness that we may be emerging into.
So, so it’s a dialogue and it’s, it’s just a lot of questions and obviously we
don’t have the answers and obviously we have some opinions. But the topic I
wanted to talk about is organized religion.
Anne: 02:29 And
I say that having a lot of respect for the practice of organized religion but
not subscribing to one particular set of beliefs that have, has been initiated
by someone else or organized by someone else, but rather kind of an amalgam of
my own study and practice and sense and faith and belief. And 49 years of life
experience. So the question I guess, or my, my issue with organized religion as
relates to what I just said is that––and let me back up for one second.
Something I love about Anthroposophy, Waldorf teaching is the, the approach to
teaching the approach to answering questions, especially when the child is
young. You know, “Why is the sky blue?” Rather than answer with an
explanation of the way light reflects, refracts off molecules in the air. One
might say, “I wonder?”
Thea: 03:46 As
opposed to answering with a finite sort of dead answer that stops the
Anne: 03:55 That
stops the wonder. Right? I think the idea in Waldorf teaching is to just let it
keep going in one way or another. Right? Whether it’s as the children are older
and you are having a discussion that takes you down many pads or not, but if we
answer anything with, with just like a hard and fast fact, well, that’s done,
Drake: 04:25 Yep. Interesting. I remember having a discussion in class this week that left me feeling sort of unsettled. And it’s funny that you’re mentioning Waldorf because Waldorf education has been on my mind a lot this week––because my verse, I think it was my verse in fourth grade, came back to my mind: To wonder at beauty, stand guard over truth. Look up to the noble, resolve in the good. And I think that was the first line that we would say everyday when we, when we left class…When I was getting kind of embroiled in the deep that, you know, the intellectual details of something. I’m getting stressed out about it. You know, I can’t figure out this, this one little thing. And I was like, well, how about I wonder at the beauty of it? Let me just look at––of this mathematical proposition or whatever it was and just kind of sit in that. And sure enough, I understood it a little bit later. Once I stopped the frenzied, you know, logic because it can, you know, when you’re trying to figure out a problem, you can get very stuck and not see what you’re missing or what presupposition you missed.
Drake: 05:35 And Anne, when you’re talking about different ages or people switching the way that they think about things, what came to my mind was presuppositions. Because if you want to have a mode of thought or a doctrine that’s going to allow you to evolve, it seems important that it would be a motive thought or a doctrine or philosophy or whatever it is that urges you to examine the presuppositions of the philosophy itself or the doctrine itself. And maybe that’s what organized religion doesn’t do. Maybe that’s something it really explicitly doesn’t do––is urge you to question why you’d be associated with that particular organized religion. And that’s supposition on my part, I don’t have evidence to back that up right now. I don’t have a lot of life experience with a particular organized religion, but just from my reading of different texts, that seems something that perhaps the actual teachers, you know, like, like Buddha or Krishna from the Bhagavad Gita, Christ. I think they do, they do urge people to actually think about things. But then the customs or laws laid down after those teachers by other people who embrace those religions maybe don’t as much.
Thea: 07:12 It
makes me think a little bit, Drake as you say, that like that the teachers themselves
were teaching, one of it was to maintain interest in things and questions. That
space of wonder. And what seems to be one of the things that people in general,
one of the places where we get tripped up is that wanting to claim something
entirely or, or be secure. I wonder if it comes from a sense of wanting to be
secure in some finite existence that the wondering stops. Like it’s a failing
of humans. Maybe not a failing, but it’s a habit. It’s not necessarily what the
teachings are at all. Right? That the teachings and that thread, stream of
wisdom isn’t finite like that, but that’s what we’ll do to it––like hanging on
to the image of it rather than penetrating to the essence of it.
Drake: 08:20 Yeah.
Or just, I mean, and that seems to be simply like staying in your comfort zone,
right? And that doesn’t have to be something that is totally seen as negative.
Like, yeah, all of us humans are going to do that, want to stay in our comfort
zones, but if we can understand that it applies intellectually or religiously
or spiritually as well. Because I feel like we, at least personally, I don’t
often think about it applying to those areas as well. Like, oh, you know, I
wanna stay in my comfort zone in terms of I don’t know, how hard I’m working at
something or some other aspect of my life that’s maybe more external and easier
to examine and I might not realize, “Oh, wow! It might also be my natural
tendency to stay in my comfort zone religiously or spiritually” or
whatever these other aspects of, of life that are less tangible.
Anne: 09:17 Yeah.
I mean, humans have this kind of dichotomous relationship with change and the
unknown. So we are drawn to it because we are curious and we have an innate
need to grow, as do all beings. But it’s scary too. So we like to find answers
that we can rest upon, I’d imagine. Right? I really like your point, Drake,
that probably the original teachings and teachers we’re conveying a truth and
spirit to others who then took that and fixed it. I mean, when I say fixed, put
it in a fixed organization that can be handed down and worked with as a
framework, always difficult to do. So I guess, since I don’t practice an
organized religion either and my main experience is with Catholicism, but I
didn’t get that deeply involved in it. I can’t speak to the tenets of all the
different religions. I do agree that a foundation of morality is critical to a
society, a family, a religion, anyone. Right? But those can be principles that
are not challenging to understand. But when we get into pedantic details, even
of…I was having a conversation with someone whose religion does not subscribe
to a belief in reincarnation. And the first thing that I think I remember him
saying is we don’t believe in reincarnation. Right? And so that, that just
saying, “we don’t believe,” to me that’s problematic because, I mean,
I’m not a collective. I work with people and I need people, and I I learn from
people, and I also share some beliefs with people, but I don’t like saying
“we believe.” I believe. So far, too. I believe, so far. Best I can
ascertain. Here’s what seems to make sense to me. Sorry, go ahead.
Drake: 12:50 Well,
yeah, that’s just what jumped to my mind when you said, “we don’t
believe,” for some reason, I thought of the “royal we,” how a lot
of a lot of literature when kings are speaking, from like older times, they use
the “royal we” and it like is it from themselves? And I was like, oh,
well, obviously, royalty, authority. You know, like if you’re saying “we
don’t believe,” it’s like this credence of authority that you’re like
interweaving with your opinion. Your opinion is the authority, and an authority
kind of seems like something that’s less likely to be questioned.
Anne: 13:23 Well, yeah, right. Also, you know what I think of though? I think of the Borg from Star Trek, right? The collective, hive mind, “we believe.” Right? Anyway. But back to that topic, for example, reincarnation. Look, I don’t know. For sure. To me, there’s enough evidence out there and certainly enough has been passed on through the hermetic traditions by many that I respect to suggest that reincarnation is something. Does exist. However, as I pointed out to my friend, maybe the ultimate goal is to stop cycling. Perhaps the goal is to stop reincarnating. Perhaps, perhaps that’s the goal for humanity. Perhaps that’s the goal for each individual soul––if you subscribe to that belief that there’s a soul––and perhaps it was interpreted somewhere along the way that because the goal is to not cycle, it doesn’t exist. But, but doesn’t want one need to leave room for the possibility that it does? Doesn’t one need to leave room for the possibility that there is something contained in every religion––every current modern religion being practiced, and every ancient religion that we have learned about, and every future one going forward––that there is some, some piece of the puzzle there that cannot be ruled out?
Thea: 15:17 What it draws to my mind a bit is there’s certain stories––and I know Drake can relate and probably you––that I like to reread every few years, even novels or whatever, to come back to a story. And every time I read it, as I live more life, I see more in the story that was always there, but I couldn’t, I didn’t have the experience within myself to reflect it and see it. And so it makes me think a little bit of the teachings of these different lines, these different religions, that that’s why there has to be a continuous study and penetration of the wisdom that’s passed to us. Because if we take it at face value, we see it in the way we saw something when we were five or ten or fifteen or twenty five or whatever it is. Instead of allowing it to just continue to work on us and for us to work with it in that expanding depth of anything that’s true or you know, that has that seed in it.
Drake: 16:36 That’s
funny. That makes me think a couple people last night were talking about a
certain Homer translator that is disliked in my dorm. And part of the reason
for that, and this is debatable, is that part of her philosophy of translating
is that when Homer repeats these epithets that he did because it was an oral
poem and he was remembering he needed to remember what came between. So he
would have these easily repeatable lines “dawn with rose red fingertips”
or the “wine dark sea”, like things that he would draw on––the sea,
it’s the wine dark sea. Dawn, it was this dawn. But this one translator, she
translates it completely differently every single time, because she wants the
reader in English to be struck with the image as if it was a new image every
single time. So she’s giving different words to it.
Drake: 17:33 And
I think I, I get, I think I understand why she’s doing that because it’s more
impactful for the reader. But the flip side is it seems like that takes some of
the work of the person reading the book away, right? You really try, you can read
it and get something different out of that image or be struck by that image,
equally, if you’re actively (inaudible) every single time in one of them
lesions. And so this seems to get into, like, if you’re going back and
rereading a text, whether it’s a religious text or some other thing that’s
helping guide your morality or your spirituality or anything it takes effort to
read it differently, right? Like it naturally happens if you let years, if
years go by and then you go back and read a book you’re probably gonna get
something out of it just cause you’ve changed as a person in that time. But if
you’re, if you’re a practicer of a religion and you’re doing it every single
day or every week or something like that, it’s hard. Like, it’s hard to read the
same things over and over again and have it, you know, hit you like have it
really stir something in you every single time. Like it seems to be a
difficulty of prayers too. Like if you have a prayer you repeat, it’s a really
good practice and I, and I admire it. But to feel it every single time instead
of having it be habit. And maybe, maybe the habit’s not bad as well, but it
came up when I was hearing you guys talk about that.
Anne: 19:04 Yeah,
and that’s also why the, the curriculum, the Waldorf curriculum, there’s,
there’s a new verse every year for the growing, the changing consciousness of
the child to say. A new prayer. Right? So we’re going to wrap this up so that
Drake, you can go on to practice and we can make this shorter for people as
well. I think that something that’s always been very helpful to me is, I mean,
this is not a new concept. That’s why comparative religion, comparative
religious studies is something that people do in university. I hope they still
do. I don’t know. But I think that doing whatever one can, to stimulate thought
and reconsideration so that we can continue looking at things from a slightly
new perspective, a fresh perspective, whether it’s engaging with new people,
other people reading the texts of other religions that are different than the
one that you practice, and allowing for possibility. To me that would temper
the problem that I have with a strict dogmatic practice that organized religion
often becomes. And dead. A deadened one, I found that with Catholicism, and I’m
sure that that was my experience with it. And it’s not many people’s, because I
know some Catholics who blow my mind with their connection to so many
dimensions of realms and spirit and God and faith. Like blow me away. So it’s
not Catholicism that is the problem, but certainly how I came to it or how it
was introduced to me or the priest that was heading things up, I guess. Butso
anyway, I guess that’s the conclusion for now and we can continue this
discussion in another, we can continue this dialogue in another discussion.
What does a priest provide that we can’t provide ourselves?
VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW:
Anne: 00:01 Okay.
Here we are again, we’re going to dive into some possibly controversial topics.
I want to ask the question, can we be our own priests?
Drake: 00:18 Yeah.
Remembering what we were talking about last time where we, we sort of discussed
different spiritual paths that people might have, whether they, I believe in
God, whether they don’t believe in God whether they’re agnostic and whatever
they’re sort of moral guidelines or a spiritual path might be. And coming back
to this question of whether we could be our own priest, I feel like that leads
me to think about what are the things that I would want a priest to do. ‘Cause
I’ve never been a part of an organized religion. I’ve never had a priest. I’ve
gone to church a couple of times, I’ve talked with a couple different priests,
and it seems like a very important thing is that you would confide, right? And
I know that that’s different in Christianity depending on whether you’re
Protestant or Catholic in terms of things that confession and stuff like that.
But that kind of leads to this difficulty of building up a relationship with
yourself where you actually confide things or dialogue about things with
yourself, whatever that would look like. Would it be a journal? Would it be a
prayer? Would it be a conversation with a loved one? I feel like these are all
different spaces that you could sort of hold that confidence with.
Anne: 01:45 So
in that’s the context of a counselor almost. Right? So a priest serves as a
counselor and a guide to people. And we all need that sometimes. The reason the
question comes up for me is that I have a difficulty with the idea of a
middleman between me and my source. And maybe I have it wrong. Maybe the priest
doesn’t get in the way of that. I don’t know. But Drake has gotten me reading
The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky, and I’m only about halfway through. Drake
has read it and there’s a particular chapter that came to mind when we were
talking about this before we started recording. Drake, could you describe it
Drake: 02:59 Yeah.
Well, we were talking about about The Grand Inquisitor (chapter), and I
remember I first read that book in high school and then re-read it recently.
And it’s pretty life changing. But I do remember that chapter where one of the
brothers presents a poem to his younger brother. And in the poem––it’s set in
the Inquisition in Spain where many heretics have been burnt––and Jesus
appears. And the Inquisitor instead of celebrating or kneeling down or anything
like that, sends Jesus off to prison. And then comes down later, I think it’s
later that evening, to interrogate him and tell him how in refusing the
temptations of the devil––which is in I think Matthew and Luke section four or
something like that––how they damned mankind to be free and who they choose to
worship, to have freedom of conscience and have to try to be their own
conscience. And he, the Inquisitor talks about how the church has stepped in to
be that authority and to be what he thinks Jesus couldn’t be. Keep in mind, I
mean I have to keep in mind this is all Dostoevsky’s view of the church. But
what the Inquisitor lists off that he thinks that the church has provided for
people, that Jesus refused to give, is miracle, mystery and authority. And so I
feel like in Anne’s question of, “Can we be our own priests?”, well
then we have to ask like, is that necessary? Like do we want the authority of a
priest? Do we want miracle to come from, cause that’s another thing when you’re
talking about, you know, not wanting a priest. I feel like, I mean I know human
beings can be incredible, but I don’t look at them as exalted in that way. And
I feel like that’s something that rubs me the wrong way. If someone was to tell
me I needed a priest to have a relationship with God, I’d be like, well, I know
he’s studied the text more than I have, but what makes what makes them special?
Thea: 04:54 We’re
all creations of the, out of some divine.
Anne: 04:58 Right.
If we all have a divine spark in us, if we are all God’s children, why should
one have more authority over that relationship than another?
Thea: 05:14 And
I mean, and that’s wherewe were talking a little bit about the priest or
whatever the Holy person is in a tradition that they do provide that quality of
being a wise person, an elder or some sort of a guide like we just spoke of.
And then there’s also that these are people who are dedicating their lives to
this practice of this religion, of this tradition. And so therefore they’re
giving their time and energy and efforts in a daily practice that maybe
strengthens…The reason I’m saying this is because when you were saying that,
it’s like, yeah, do they have a direct line to God? Is it like their channel’s
a little clearer? And maybe that is what it is a little bit. Maybe their
channel and frequency is tuned in a little bit more clearly, and in a stronger
path to it because it’s been practiced.
Anne: 06:30 Well,
and because they are devoting themselves to that. Right? Whereas we’re raising
kids, we’re doing the work in the worldly world that is not giving us that time
or allowing that, allowing us to become as learned first off in that way so
that we have so many resources to draw upon, but also that we are not spending
as much time in prayer, in meditation, and perhaps in direct connection with
Thea: 07:05 I
mean that’s a question. That’s a possibility.
Drake: 07:09 I
think at least on the moral side of things. And in speaking to that sort of
like need for authority, like if we do have a need for authority, because it
seems especially like today, it seems a big claim to say that people have a
need for religious authority. It’s like you can just look around and be like,
plenty of people don’t seem to have that need. Right? But it seems fair to say
that we at least have some sort of tendency to want to, to look to a moral
authority when it comes to things. And we might want to escape it. But we so
often, like at least I know I so often want to appeal to something, to be able
to judge actions. To be able to look at myself, you know, have I treated these
people right? Like what am I going to compare that to? And when you’re talking
about people who’ve dedicated their life to something, it seems like that’s an
easy way to, to feel trust. Like this person is going to hopefully tell me the
right thing to do. They’ve dedicated their life to being able to tell me the
right thing to do.
Anne: 08:10 Yeah,
yeah. They’ve been studying this so much. They intimately understand it. They
have dissected it, they have contemplated it.
Thea: 08:19 And
they’ve observed, right? And had experience. And seen others.
Drake: 08:25 Well,
people are busy, right? Like, yeah, it’s hard. It’s hard to be able to do your
whole day at work or do whatever it is you’re doing. Take care of your kids and
then check in with yourself and be like, you know, how am I holding up to this
moral standard? That’s a whole extra level of work to do and trust in yourself.
Thea: 08:44 And
that takes us a little bit too, and I don’t know if I segue too much right
here, but the need of, what was it you said? Magic, mystery, authority?
Miracle, mystery and authority. But that we were talking about a little bit in
terms of this idea of being our own priest or priestess is having ritual,
having a practice of some sort that brings us back to that space of reflection
or meditation or whatever it is. Something that is part of our daily rhythm
that brings us to a space of that observation really, or contemplation in some
way. And I was saying that that’s what, you know, Hatha yoga came out as, I
mean that’s a practice for the householder to attain self-realization. You
know, because you are busy with life works of managing a household and children
and all of that. But then ritual, magic, when you were saying the need for a
moral authority, that, I mean our sense of that checking in with ourselves, but
also, I mean, we look at our world, we have a need for mystery and miracle, you
know, that is huge. And we see it in people’s excitement of tech, technological
advances. We see it in all sorts of these things that show a little bit of
mystery that we go Ooh. And miracle. Okay. So anyway, I went all over.
Drake: 10:42 So
that’s a funny thing looking at the, at the modern world, like I mean, so few
of the people that I know are a part of organized religion, and I know they’re
still so many people that are and have that as a part of their daily life. But
it seems like generally, or in many cases, we don’t want the miracle, mystery
and authority all in the same place. Like we still want those things, but to
have them all in one figure, it seems like, I mean, so when you’re talking
about us being our own priests, it brings back the conversation to like, well
would I want a priest to do that if I was going to have a priest, I don’t know.
Anne: 11:33 Well
so correct me if I’m wrong. I think where you’re going is that so the miracle
and mystery, well we can perceive certainly the mystery, right? We can perceive
that there is the mystery, and we might be able to bear witness to the miracle.
Right? But do we also then want to answer the question? Do we want to then
appeal to our own authority in making sense of all of it? Is that kind of what
Drake: 12:06 Right.
Yeah. Cause I mean that, that at times that seems impossible. Right? To, you
know, at the end of the day, come back and have yourself as the authority.
Thea: 12:20 Yeah.
Well, I wonder if there’s something else in that authority is that that’s a
thread to community and not being alone. When there is an authority and you, if
there are many that link to an authority figure in some way, that builds
Drake: 12:43 Right.
I feel like elders that I’ve known, you know who I’m thinking of. But like they
can be that figure in a community to some extent. I mean in a different way,
but still someone that another young person and I can look to and, and go, you
know, we’re going to be reverent to this person because look how much he’s
lived and look what he has to say. Let’s listen. Because if we’re both doing
that, it’s somehow affirming both of us, both of our experience in the moment,
right? Like if we’re both, we’re both hushing down when this older man is
talking or we’re both, you know, offering to help this older person. Like it’s
a shared reverence that shows we’re both kind of on the same wavelength.
Thea: 13:27 And
that’s one of the things that I think is so important. And I think maybe that’s
one of the things that comes out of the need for something outside of
ourselves. Is that sense of togetherness that we feel with others when we are
having something shared, something profound that we share.
Anne: 13:51 Well
so makes me think of a couple of things. Number oneI suppose this might seem
obvious, but the priest is channeling, presumably channeling communication with
God, connection to source and representing in some ways. A representative. The
priest is a representative in the same way, you know, you might say parents are
also representative to the child of the divine. We are an earthly manifestation
to channel that perhaps. And speaking to your point, Thea, and yours, Drake,
that, together we all revere, rightfully revere our elders, first of all. Our
elders and those who have experienced and become wise. And so even in revering
them, they do become elevated, right? And so…go ahead.
Drake: 15:13 Well,
right. And in that sense, they seem like a representative too, right? Like if
someone has made it to 80 years old and they look happy, they’re healthy. And
they’re talking about, you know, whatever it is, some experience or you know,
they’re telling their grandchild that was the wrong thing to do. And explaining
something to them. It seems that they’re representative of living a good moral
life. Right? And I’m sure there’s immoral old people…
Thea: 15:43 Well,
not all old people are wise. I mean, not all old people shine.
Drake: 15:50 Well
and not for everyone would you hush your voice as they, when they start
talking, because you have some sort of reverence., And I feel like with many,
many elderly people, that’s my initial reaction because they at least seem like
a representative of that. So when Anne’s talking about the priest being a
representatives and parents being representative, like you were thinking about
parents also as a representative of wisdom, too. Right?
Thea: 16:16 And
that’s what I was saying––or is it the same thing really like that not
necessarily only that vessel of communication from the divine or the source,
but the wisdom that comes through experience and observation, but from my
experience so far in the moments where I feel like I’m exercising wisdom, when
other things fall away and what’s left is that wisdom or that experience or
that compassion of truth, when the other things fall away, that to me there is
something in that that that is a channeling of what is good and true and, and
Drake: 17:05 Well,
it’s like, I mean to look, I feel to look at something similar to that in a
different way is like, it’s almost just like giving different things different
weight, right? Like seeing what’s really most important or what’s truly
relevant. Right. The other things falling away and being left with a single
thing in a given moment, in any given moment that this is the most relevant
thing right now. Even being in any dire situation and your wisdom or your past
experience is telling you, okay, this is exactly what we need to do right now.
And nothing else is important. It’s kind of going to one thing by itself all of
Anne: 17:41 Well
and so I would like to not go a whole lot longer this time. So I also am
hearing that the priest serves as one we can dialogue our experiences with. So
that we can find some objectivity to our subjective experiences. And I
explained, one of the reasons that I felt that having a priest, having a
middleman there to me is problematic––the other reason ismaybe this is too long
a conversation right now, but going back to The Grand Inquisitor the Grand
Inquisitor who was actually also the Cardinal, right? The Cardinal, the Bishop?
We find out later as he relates to Jesus that actually about 800 years ago they
started working with the other guy, right? And they are basically, they are,
they are working with Satan. And, and the people are none the wiser. So having
a priest in that capacity, in that role––it is ripe for corruption. Right? So,
you know, maybe this is something to explore beyond this conversation, but so I
see ideally now, and I understand even better ideally why we have a priest
outside of us to help us dialogue and relate to our source. But I do see some
problems with it. We have all seen the corruption around us and how that power
and authority can be and has been misused.
Drake: 19:47 Right.
And I feel like that that highlights again, looking for ways to be your own
authority because you can follow, you can, you know, through every chain of
like of authority, you can find someone for this authority to be accountable to
and someone for this authority to be accountable to and so on forever. And it’s
never going to be infallible, right? No person is going to be infallable.
Right? So it seems like, I don’t know, I feel like my takeaway right now is
that I’m my best shot in some ways.
Thea: 20:21 Well,
I think so. I mean, even when we have someone who we revere, we can hear that,
but then we still have to be coming to our own process.
Drake: 20:34 It’s
hard though. It’s hard to revere someone and not sort of fall into a blindness
regarding their faults.
Thea: 20:40 Well,
we have a tendency to that. But I think if, I mean, when I think of the
teachers I have who are doing it well, they don’t allow people to put them up
there and worship them. You know, they remember and remind of their humanity
and failings. Not that they have to lay their failings out, but there is, it
takes a real something to not let people worship you if you’re doing some
powerful work. And so I think in that, in ourselves as people who are looking
towards having elders and wise leaders among us, we have to remember that we
still have to bring it into our own process. I mean we’re talking about, at the
end of the day, that part of the practice of becoming our best self and being
of service to the world in a right way is to be able to have that checking in.
And strengthening that, that compass, I guess, of ourself, of our own
Anne: 21:54 And
perhaps to remember that it’s a relationship that we are required to
participate in fully, at least equally with any authority that we have granted.
And so that we have to continually be checking them and making sure that they
are also doing the work to deserve that authority.
Thea: 22:24 Right.
That we don’t hand it over blindly.
Anne: 22:27 Yeah.
Or get lazy after we’ve handed it over consciously, but then over time it’s
very easy to get lazy. So, I’m not sure what we’ve concluded on this one, but
it was a good exploration.
Thea: 22:47 Well,
it is. And I think that the one other thing I’d love to add to it though is
that in order for us to be our own guides and authorities or then even in equal
relationship to those that can offer that to us, is to have those spaces just
being in nature too. Because we were talking a little bit, and I won’t go into
it, but talking about creating places of worship or places that are Holy, and
nature is one of those that we all have. To make an effort when we’re living in
cities to be in that because it gives us that sense of connection, like a
direct line. I mean, that’s my experience of it anyway. You know, and it
charges that, it strengthens that current in us as people.
Anne: 23:47 Yes,
it is very grounding. It is the grounding, I think.
Thea: 23:51 And
uplifting. It’s grounding. I mean, it’s the whole thing. It’s like we become
clearer to be able to perceive what is there.
Anne: 24:00 Truth.
Truth. Yeah. Okay. Yeah, I like that. Okay. Let’s end on that. I mean, you
know, you can’t go wrong with advising that people spend more time in nature.
That is, there is the quiet, there is the reverence automatically or just laid
out there for us. Right? It is creation.
Thea: 24:25 Creation.
Observation. I mean, when I think of the things I want to practice more, it’s
that, that quiet observation and I mean, observing anything in its natural
state is a good exercise.
Anne: 24:40 Yeah.
It’s a good reference point. Going back to references, right? Drake, it’s
resetting in nature and seeing this unadulterated creation gives us some
perspective to bring back into our manmade world to check it, to see if it kind
of stands up to truth.
Drake: 25:06 Right.
And when you were talking about representatives too, right? Like in nature, if
you can look at a natural, any little scene, right? Like a little pocket of
trees in a brook somewhere, it’s kind of in a harmony, right? So you can, you
can look at it as representative of things. Yeah. It does seem like nature
seems to work.
Thea: 25:27 It
does seem to work!
Drake: 25:29 When
left to its own devices. So when you were talking about priests as
representatives, and then we were talking about elders as representatives, to
just kind of look at these things as examples or exemplary of something good
that we might want to emulate, that seems like a path that it can take as well.
Anne: 25:45 Yes,
what, and that, that nature and being there in nature and witnessing all of
that perfection we can see that pattern and want to find that particular
beautiful, perfect pattern in at least the ideals of those that we grant
Thea: 26:17 And
even then in relationship, right? In the dynamics of relationship and the way
relating is happening, those dynamics of nature, the balance. Am I losing
something here? Maybe?
Anne: 26:31 We’re
just, we’re just getting very abstract here, but yeah. Okay. All right. All
right. Let’s cut it here and we’ll continue this dialogue in another one at
some point. Thanks you guys.
Thea: 26:45 Thanks.
Anne: 26:46 Hold
on one sec. Love you. Hang on one minute.
To move beyond the limited options of agnostic spirituality, atheism, or fundamentalist religion––we need to talk about it. And before we can talk about it, we need to think about it.
VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW:
Anne: 00:01 Okay. Here we are with a new guest Drake Mason-Koehler, my nephew, first and foremost Thea’s son. He’s home on break and he’s going to join the discussion. We’ve been having chats, discussions as we always do about some of the subjects that we’ve been talking about. And today we’re going to talk about God. And we’ve had a few discussions about this already, so we’re going to try to kind of just hit a couple of the points and go from there. I have lamented to these guys that––I live up in the Bay area in California and I don’t think people talk enough about God. I think that God, discussions about God, is met kind of with derision and suspicion. There is an atheist tendency up here and an emphasis on secularism that I think is throwing the baby out with the bath water.
Anne: 01:10 And
I say this as someone who has gone through myriad perspectives and explorations
and examinations. I was not raised in any particular clear tradition really.
And I’ve come to my own faith very experientially. And as anyone who is
familiar with Anthroposophy––I’m a homeschooler who follows a Waldorf
Anthroposophic curriculum and Drake was raised in the Waldorf schools, Thea
teaches in the Waldorf schools––we understand that religion, from the
Anthroposophic perspective, all religions are valid and are a manifestation and
expression of the consciousness of the time, the evolution of humanity. And no
religion is regarded as––even the ancient myths––they’re not regarded as fables
or misunderstandings, but an understanding of our connection to our source at
the time. So that being said you know, both Drake and Thea brought some
interesting points up. Drake, can you talk a little about your experience being
raised in Southern California?
Drake: 02:37 Yeah.
Well, and this is because we’ve spoken about this a couple of times now. Just
recalling that when you, initially were talking about the atheism that you’ve
run into up in the Bay area, just in your experience, my immediate sort of
complement to that growing up in Southern California ––and although I went to a
school where we learned old Testament myths or old Testament stories in third
grade, along with all the Greek and Norse and other myths that were part of the
curriculum––I still have grown up with so much agnosticism and not even just
agnosticism, but spiritual tendencies in the adults around me and gradually in
many of my peers as well. And not that I think that’s necessarily a bad thing,
but when it comes to discussions about God, I think that that led me to not
even really start thinking about God until just towards the end of high school.
And more lately.
Anne: 03:45 Can
I interrupt you just so that you can make it clear? I think what you’re saying
is when you, when you talk about this kind of agnostic spiritualism or
spirituality, sorry, you’re referring to a kind of nebulous spirituality that
doesn’t follow any, certainly any organized religion or firm tradition. Yeah?
Drake: 04:11 I
feel like I’ve run into a lot of that. And then also a lot of, “well, I
just don’t know. And I’m also not really interested in having a discussion
about what I don’t know or what I do know.” So it’s kind of maybe, I don’t
know what the, what the split would look like in terms of people who are going,
you know, “I’m spiritual. This is my belief which is kind of hard to put
your finger on exactly what it is. But they might, you know, hold it very
precious and that might be very good for them. But I think the emphasis of my
point would be that there hasn’t really been much on either end of the
spectrum. I haven’t known a lot of people who are very religious and I haven’t
known a lot of people who are very clear cut in their atheism. It’s all been
somewhere in between. And the majority of that in between has also seen an
unwillingness to stop and talk about it or to think about it because I think
the thinking about before the talking about it. So, yeah, that was, that’s kind
of where I came into this discussion.
Thea: 05:10 And
that came after also you articulating that we grew up in the Midwest where
there were a lot of very fundamental religions around us. And while that was
around us, we didn’t grow up with that in our home. Ours was sort of a
nondescript sense of God and faith, but not any clear delineated path within
that I guess.
Anne: 05:35 Yes.
We were raised by liberal academics so who were as you point out, I’ll let you
speak to this, but I think who were, as many people from that generation,
turned off to the hypocrisy of the organized religion that they had grown up
around or even with.
Thea: 06:02 Like,
like a lack of breathing within it. I think, you know, I mean, and that was
mirrored in a lot of aspects of the culture, too. I mean, the religious aspect
kind of, and the structure and strictures of life in this country. I mean, just
thinking of the social changes that were occurring in the fifties, sixties, you
know, so all of that was a reflection of all of it in a way, too. And so there
was this pushing away from that hard and fast structure and form because of the
many injustices that were seen and condoned by religious practices one way or
another. And that’s throughout all of history.
Drake: 06:47 I
remember, Anne, yesterday you were talking a little bit about sort of pendulum
swings, like going all the way to the other end of an extreme. So wherever you
might grow up you might go the other way, like both of you guys growing up in
the Midwest and then coming out to California where it’s a very different
consciousness than what you grew up in when it comes to spirituality and God.
And my follow up thought to that has been, well, what if you grow up where it’s
all agnostic? What if you grow up where there’s no, you’re not at any extreme
to swing from. Right? You don’t have that, like, trajectory to go look for.
Right? ‘Cause I think, needless to say, we live in a world where, you know, if
you’re so blessed that you have the opportunity to, to go to college or to go
and work in our world you get to forge your own path and you’re talking about
this kind of like forging your own religion or your own outlook on religion or
spirituality, whatever that might be.
Anne: 07:51 Okay.
We had a little technical difficulty. So Drake, would you just start from, you
were talking about, you know, for those of us who are blessed to forge our own
path I mean blessed to go to college, to forge our own path, that allows us
Drake: 08:09 Well,
I was thinking even just looking back at the beginning of this discussion, you
said your approach to religion or spirituality has been very experiential,
right? Like throughout your life, it’s changed or you’ve done work with it
based on your own experiences and what you’ve read, who you’ve talked to and
where you’ve been. And I think similar for you. So those are kind of like
individual trajectories that you guys have had and you’ve been able to come out
from your upbringing growing up in a more religious place, a different type of
environment, and then sort of forge your own way. So it almost, it seems like
that upbringing gave you a momentum, and I know it wasn’t like, you didn’t grow
up like super strict Catholic or anything like that. Also people don’t have to
escape it, like they don’t have to swing away from it, but it seems like when
it comes to coming to your own understanding of something or your own beliefs
where do you get that movement that would make you want to establish beliefs in
the first place? Is it just life happening to you that makes you want to,
“okay, I need to figure out, you know, what I believe is right and wrong?
How I think about children, marriage, grief, like all these other things and
scriptures and religion has a lot to say on that. And it’s not necessarily all you
need to be followed, but there’s a lot of good in it too.
Thea: 09:34 Yeah.
Well I don’t know if my thought quite follows precisely. I mean it still is in
there, but it gives me a picture of, you know, he was speaking about the
pendulum, that swinging and you were talking about earlier the streams. And
with that pendulum swing you have this momentum kind of like you’re shot out of
something, you know, so you have this force carrying you one way or another.
And then I was thinking that when there’s this sort of work that’s coming from
your individual experiences, it’s a little bit more like picking up a shovel
and digging, and you don’t want to be too far from the stream ’cause you still
need the current if you’re trying to create a channel. But it just gave me the
picture, ’cause today we went for a walk and it rained a lot last night. So
this path was just flooded and there were so many streams flowing. And I’m just
thinking that sometimes to forge a new stream, you know, you do have to pick up
a shovel for a bit and then it can kind of be filled in and have some of that
carrying from, not the pendulum, but just from the movement of the stream
itself. So that you can kind of, I don’t know, it’s not quite there, but a
picture that came with that.
Anne: 10:51 Well
so drawing both on our conversation from yesterday and what you just, you both
just said. So we talked a little bit about the fact that like, for example, especially
the last couple of generations in this country, given the nature of the economy
and the world more and more often people leave the places they grew up in,
leave the traditions, the families intermarry, live abroad, live on the other
side of the country. Meet, mingle and marry people who have come from widely
different backgrounds. And so one is exposed to many different streams and
traditions. At the same time, like Drake brings up scripture and these
traditions that have come up throughout humanity’s development, understanding
and need to figure out ways, codes guidelines and guideposts, those are also
valuable. And the flip side of us all moving away and finding new streams is,
the downside is that we also sometimes lose and abandon that which came before
us. So I think that we kind of concluded when we were talking yesterday that
what we’re starting to realize is that there needs to be––so we’re, we’re
entering the age of Aquarius. I think I brought up the fact that, you know, as
I see it, each epoch is about 2000 years long. And so we’ve come to that end of
our current form of Christianity––do we need, I mean, I’m talking about in the
Western tradition because we’ve all grown up in the Western tradition, so
that’s all I can really speak to, right? So is what we’re seeing around us is
that indicating a need to create a new stream, a new path that perhaps for the
first time in recent human history is informed by our individualism as equally,
if not more than our group…What’s, what’s the word I’m looking for, Drake?
Drake: 13:53 I
don’t know. Like our need for community or something like that?
Anne: 13:57 Well,
you know, we need, we need community, right? But, well, Thea and I had done a
talk a while back on claiming our authority and we emphasized the fact
that––certainly for us, we see the need to we have lived and, and strived to,
be our own authority, rather than look to the experts, rather than look to the
doctors the lawyers, the teachers, the priests. Not that that means we reject
what they have to offer, but I will put my authority above them all in my final
decisions about anything. And I think that this, there is a lot of that, there
is a lot of that impulse in people and they’re finding that groove in different
ways. Maybe one of them is simply and embrace of atheism, because they are
rejecting everything that came before them. Because they’re saying, no, that
didn’t work. But perhaps what needs to happen is we need to find something that
doesn’t then throw the baby out with the bath water. Because we are spiritual
beans, which I will say again only for my own personal, my own experience, but
I believe we are spiritual beings or we have a spiritual impulse, a
spirituality and we do need to speak to that. And materialism, reductivist
materialism, doesn’t answer that need in us.
Thea: 15:48 Well
it doesn’t hold the space for that mystery that is always present in some way.
But I’d like to go back just a moment, ’cause I think there was something you
said yesterday in our conversation that was really important to distinguish
when we’re talking about this sort of age of coming into this individual sense
of seeing. I want to find a better way to say it. It is reclaiming our
authority or claiming our authority, but also really the honoring of our own
seeing is part of that. But what you said yesterday, was there’s a difference
between individualism that is just self-serving and sort of narcissistic, as
opposed to a group of individuals coming together––I mean maybe you want to say
it––as opposed to a group of people who are all thinking the same or don’t have
their own responsibility of self quite there. But when everyone is an
individual and their work has been done through themselves to come to where
they are, there’s more power in that group of people working together towards a
shared goal than there is in a group of people following someone with a
somewhat shared goal.
Anne: 17:13 So,
basically that, you know, there’s a difference between a group of individuals
bringing their own unique skills, talents, perspectives, experience to the
table toward a, a shared goal––the evolution of humanity, let’s say
that––versus a collective of group think that is following one idea and path.
And so I think the way we concluded, and we want to wrap it up just to keep
this short, but we want to keep this going, I think, this is a good start. I
think what we determined perhaps is that there’s gotta be, there has to be
another path now. And so, you know, there’s, there’s a path beyond just the
choices of atheism, fundamental religion, nebulous, agnostic, spirituality.
Something else maybe needs to emerge and be formed. And new language must be
found for a new, experiential understanding of God, or our connection to source,
whatever that is for you. And the way to do that is to start talking about it
Thea: 18:28 Thinking
Anne: 18:29 Well
exactly. Like Drake says, you have to first want to even think about it before
you can want to start talking about it.
Thea: 18:36 Well,
and then that’s where the conversations come ’cause you have to show up, you
have to show up for the––now I’m thinking of baseball––show up for the game.
You know, you have to be able to stand at the plate and be like, yeah, let’s
bring this discussion up. Let’s bring this topic.
Drake: 18:50 Yeah,
’cause I was going to say, if you don’t––and it can be totally reasonable to
not want to be thinking about these things at certain times. But if you’re not
wanting to think about it and people start, you know, asking you questions,
pointed questions about your beliefs or what you think and presenting you with
what they think and all of that. It can feel like an attack or sort of like a
barrage of something coming in at you. And if you haven’t even wanted to start
thinking about it, I mean it’s going to feel weird. It feels like people are
trying to get you to think like them. Which is I think why discussions about
this stuff can be like…it’s so vulnerable. It’s so vulnerable for people to
say what they believe or that they don’t know what they believe and they’re
like, it feels like it’s a difficult thing to get past that before you say, I
want to figure out something for myself, whatever that might be. Because when
you were talking about materialists, I mean, I feel like, there’s so many
different types of people and there’s so much out there in terms of what people
have thought about these things. Like, I know there are ancient authors that I
haven’t read yet that don’t believe in God, but have a system of morals and
ways of thinking about things that is beautiful and can totally work for
someone to read and think about and be inspired and not necessarily adopted as
a sort of creed, but to feed into their own understanding of what their work in
the world is. So it’s like, yeah, starting to think about it.
Thea: 20:27 Yeah,
and if this ties in just a little bit. Yesterday we had briefly spoken about
this, which led to that reflection you had about the normalcy of leaving one’s,
place of birth and upbringing. And that came after us speaking about Arjuna and
his quest towards his seeing…
Anne: 20:52 For
anyone who doesn’t know what you’re referring to. Arjuna from the Mahabharata
epic tale of ancient India, right. As Krishna’s talking to him too, right?
Drake: 21:04 Yeah.
He’s about to, if I recall correctly, I think he’s about to fight his own
family, he’s about to fight, you know, half of his family members and he’s
like, how, how am I supposed to reconcile myself to this? Then I was
remembering from, I think it’s Matthew in the Bible where Jesus says that he’s
coming to take, you know, son from father and daughter from mother or something
along those lines.
Thea: 21:30 So
those pictures of having to let go of that which is familiar, to forge one’s
own path with honor and truth and dignity. And that is, you know, there’s a
part that’s necessary to throw off these things so you can see what’s sort of
left standing. And I feel like maybe that’s what epoch we are stepping into
now. It’s like, what, what’s left standing? What is there, something that we
can really protect and nurture and grow for humanity from this point? And what is
that relationship with God, source, a structure of morals.
Drake: 22:12 Well
also all these situations that we keep bringing up, it seems like there’s
something to do with, when you run into like, contradictions, like very
irreconcilable things like Arjuna having to fight his family and wanting to be
a virtuous person. Those seem to be impossible to reconcile those two things.
So it’s like, what does he do in that situation? And whether you want to do
exactly what he does is beside the point, but just getting to see what other
people do in these stories? And if that leads to conversation too, with other
people like, “Oh, what did they do when they ran into a super sticky moral
scenario? Where did they turn? How did they get through it in a way that they
thought benefited themselves and others?
Thea: 23:01 Where
the seemingly obvious gentle, compassionate route is actually the cowardly,
unhonorable or dishonorable route. Not to not have compassion. That’s not what
I’m trying to say, but what seems to be a general kindness may not truly be a
Anne: 23:20 Absolutely.
And, and the only way to really kind of push through those kind of black and
white choices, and push through to, to understand, embrace the complexity, but
still take action, one has to examine and explore that. And I think what Drake
has brought up to some degree speaks to the fact that we should not throw all
of that out in forging our new path, but take that, benefit from everyone’s
experience from history, humanity’s experience. Take it, examine it, discuss
it, discard, try it, try something different. And then form something new.
Drake: 24:17 Yeah.
I mean, it just seems like we’re going to have to take action, no matter what.
Right? We can’t just hide in our rooms forever. We’re going to have to go do
things. And so it seems like it might help us make better decisions as opposed
to just going, “I don’t know.” ‘Cause if you just say, “I don’t
know,” you’re going to find yourself in situations where you have to do
things, anyway. So, at least trying to know might…
Anne: 24:48 Because
you can sit in your room or you can sit in your community, and you can say it’s
all good and you know, and decide to not make a decision toward judgment, which
leads to action. But if you do that, the world is going to eventually exert its
influence on you and you’re going to have to then react. So let’s get out in
front of it. Let’s start talking about this more in a new way and find some new
language and new concepts to examine and discuss and go from there.
Thea: 25:31 And
I would even just say maybe they’re not new concepts, right? But maybe we do
need to find a new language so that those old concepts that are probably
timeless and ever present just need to be understood and digested and reused in
a way that we can understand now more easily.
Anne: 25:54 Because
truth is eternal, right? So truth is eternal, but our consciousness is ever
changing. And so we need to develop some new understandings, I think, in order
to incorporate those truths and most beautifully, powerfully, and positively
manifest them going forward into this new age. Into the Age of the Fifth Sun.
So let’s wrap this up. It’s getting too long, but let’s keep going. Okay? All
right. Thanks you guys.
To support one who is grieving, simply allow them to be––to be a mess, to be demolished, to be in grief. And to not be the same person you knew them to be before the grief. Because they are not––and they never will be again. And if you are the one grieving, honor yourself and your loss by allowing that in yourself.
Anne’s article describing her personal experience with loss and grief was written and published a few years after the death of their parents in 2002, 11 days apart. It was recently republished again this year in Grief Digest Magazine, entitled Responding to Life.
VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW:
Anne: 00:01 Okay.
So Thea and I are going to talk a little bit more about grief. We feel we’re
still, we’re feeling that thread still of grief and we were just reflecting in
a conversation we were just having on the fact that it’s probably partly the
season. Our father had passed at the end of October and then our mother, 11––I
never remember 11, 13 days later, whatever it was in the early November…
Thea: 00:32 Eleven.
Anne: 00:32 Eleven
days. And one thing I wanted to qualify is that the reason that I think we’re
talking about this as if we have a great deal of experience with kind of
intense grief is that part of it was the experience of caretaking our parents
from brain illness and injury over the course of some years. So it was very,
very intense, you know, when people lose the brains, basically, that’s an
intense process of caretaking. And then it happening when we were a lot
Thea: 01:20 It’s
almost at 20 years, I mean we’re going toward 20 years now.
Anne: 01:27 And
then, and then happening within the space of two weeks. So that was just all
intense, very intense and very magnified. So that’s partly why we are wanting
to convey what helped. We were just reflecting on the fact that if it happened
now, of course it would still be intense, but not as intense. So, we want to
talk a little bit about what helped us during that time practically. And I was
reflecting with Thea on the fact that one of the things I did during that,
especially that first year after it all happened and I was going through the
motions of life and work and dealing with the estate and all of these things, I
started drinking cream in my coffee where I had drunk black coffee before that.
But just to, to get out of bed and go to work, which was like, felt like it
required sometimes superhuman capacity. I started drinking cream in my coffee.
I started taking baths again. And I had lived in London, years before where
everybody takes baths and I had gone back to taking showers here in the States.
But I started taking baths, because it felt more nurturing. It was softer. It
was gentler. I started doing yoga a little bit, and as Thea can vouch for, I’m
not a yoga person, but I started doing yoga in the mornings. I had this funky
VHS tape that I had inherited from Thea or something, and I would do this 20
minute yoga thing in the morning and it nurtured me. It helped me. I also look
back on that time and realize, you know, I cocooned a lot and it’s kind of
against my nature, to be so insular, you know, I’m pretty out there, but I was
alone a lot. I wanted to be alone a lot. And I drank a lot. I wept a lot. I
cried a lot. And, and I remember at the time, friends, people close to me, kind
of trying to encourage me to get out of that, “Come on, you know, this
isn’t you!” and being kind of at odds with that, like, “Oh, this is
not me. What, what’s going on? What am I doing here? What am I doing?” And
I wish I had had the sense that I knew best and the sense to just allow that
process to happen without trying to force anything.
Thea: 04:34 Well
if I can chime in to that. This reminds me of the thought I had had when we
were chatting a little bit ago was that it wasn’t you. And like we touched on
last time, that there is that darkened space that we go into and we do––
allowing, allowing for that darkened space and time to occur like a cocoon. We
do come out something else. We become something else. We develop, we grow, we
change. But I just wanted to remark, because I don’t think I’ve thought of it
this way before, was that when someone that we love and make connections with
in this life leaves this world, the world is altered and therefore those that
are closely tied to that person do truly change because they fill the space
differently to be able to continue. And you know, when it is a connection that
is like one of those of loved people in our lives, it does alter us and we do
become something not ourselves while we’re in transformation. And I think even
just stating that if that, if that knowledge was more apparent for those people
who are supporting the grieving people that they will be different, and it’s
not really a helpful thing to convey.
Thea: 06:04 You’re
not yourself. No shit, you know? You won’t be, you know, I will be picking up
different threads of myself, but I’m weaving a new fabric. While I’m in this
cocoon. You know, we are changing. So if there’s a little more intelligence
about that process for people who are going through grief maybe or those that
are going through it, our own knowledge that we’re going to be different and
allowing for that without the guilt game of I’m not being myself for these people
in my life. I don’t know if I’ve gone too far astray, but I think that’s what
you’re speaking to. Wishing you had known that, you know best like listening to
that inner voice again that is asking you to do something different, you know,
is, is really valuable.
Anne: 06:55 Yes,
it’s definitely valuable. And it’s, and it’s good to talk to other people who
have been through it as we did, you know, over time. I also went to a grief
counselor. First time I had really done any therapy or any kind of thing like
that, and it was helpful for sure, to have that validated. I think that’s an important
thing to point out to others too though, who are there to try to, or those were
trying to hold it for someone else. Trying to support someone who’s going
through the grieving process. W.
Thea: 07:33 Which
is really a hard position.
Anne: 07:36 It
is. And I’ve read about this recently too, where people don’t know what to say.
They don’t know what to do. People who have not been there really don’t know.
And I think it’s important to just let those folks know that I think that all
anyone is…You know, when you’re grieving that deeply. And one other thing I
wanted to point out is like, you know, a friend had communicated recently about
it, who had lost her son recently and that, as I said to her, I can’t even
touch that, right? That’s, that’s many layers beyond. But what I can say is I,
I just, you know, I just send you my love, you know, I give you my love and,
and I grieve for you and with you, right? You know, you can say, I’m sorry for
your loss or whatever, but you know, I always, I found all that platitudinal
stuff kind of like, just, just be real. And just to know that that person,
honor that person by allowing them to just be going through that phase that
you’re describing, their transformation. They are not going to be what you
know, they’re not going to be what you are used to, and they’re probably never
going to be that again.
Thea: 09:18 That’s
Anne: 09:20 So
to, to accept that and encourage them in that rather than make them feel as if
they’re doing something wrong. Right?
Thea: 09:30 Right.
Yeah. I think what you’re speaking to also, and I, you know, when I look back
at people in my life when they’ve been going through their own grief and it’s
like, you know, we don’t want to say “I’m sorry for your loss” while
you are, is, depending on the nature of your relationship is a little bit like
“I’m here and I can relate and I’m here.” But we can’t, there’s not
much else. There’s not much else we can really offer.
Anne: 10:02 Yeah,
we can’t. That’s the thing. We can’t fix it. We can’t give them anything. We
can just hold that space for them to just be and to be demolished too. We can
hold the space for them to be demolished. To be all over the floor. To be a
mess. Let them be a mess. You know? And that’s what you and I spoke about a
little bit too. It’s like, you had used the word, I don’t think you said this
in the video, but you said, there was a part of you that, because the fabric of
reality had torn open…
Thea: 10:42 Or
Anne: 10:42 Altered.
There was a tear in it. (You Said), “It didn’t fit, it no longer fit. Your
life didn’t quite fit anymore.” So that’s something that we become aware
of more in any heightened state, I think.
Thea: 11:03 Right.
That you’re actually growing into a new way of being. When there has been an
alteration to the reality you’ve been engaging with. So allowing for that
growth and that shift and that discomfort. Kind of like if you have a new pair
of shoes, they take a bit to wear into the shape of your foot, right? Or your,
when you get used to a good pair of jeans. At first they didn’t feel so good,
but that takes a little bit of time and then you fit them right and they, you
fit them and they fit you. But it all takes a little discomfort for awhile.
Anne: 11:43 Or
more than that though I would say. I mean, I like your, your clothing
analogy––as anyone knows, Thea’s style and her clothes and her relationship to
clothes, it’s appropriate. For me on the other hand, like when we were talking
about the mess and, and being demolished on the floor––I think also give
yourself a break. And give anyone who’s going through this a break to, to
really screw up too in a way. Like make some, make some big mistakes.
Thea: 12:22 Which
I think we all, we all did.
Anne: 12:25 We
all did, you know, and it was challenging and hard. But also it’s like we had
to break some things. In order to then allow that new thing to form. We had to
break it down. Say that again.
Thea: 12:47 A
new emergence, like of oneself. Out of it. To break down ideas that we had
about ourselves that were held, I mean, in our situation, it being our parents,
that’s a different dynamic than a friend or a lover or a child. So different
things we had to break down to free ourselves even.
Anne: 13:10 Yeah.
I put it as, you know, we went a little crazy and that was okay. Because we
only went so crazy. We kept things going, but we went a little crazy. And then
we came back from the crazy.
Thea: 13:32 The
edges, I call it the edges. A little bit. Because we weren’t out of our heads,
I mean, we weren’t disconnected with what we were doing. We were really pretty
aware of the choices we were making in most of those moments. They were big but
we, we pushed past our edges maybe that we had kept ourselves in before. And I,
you know, I think what you said just about that, that initial time of intense
grief, it’s like finding whatever it is that is some sort of ritual for
you––cream in your coffee, baths, walks, talks, whatever––those little things
that can hold so much power. Lighting a candle, you know, I mean, I’m just
giving little things, making your, you know, whatever. I’m like thinking like
my shoe rack, little things that I could make really neat and orderly that
brought me joy because everything felt…
Anne: 14:32 And
tethering, right? It was a tethering, so whatever, you know, finding your
little rituals of tethering. To tether you while you also are flailing at the
same time through that.
Thea: 14:48 And
one more thing. I don’t know if this ties anything in, but I think there’s
those, those pictures that when you’re sharing of your sort of cocooning, and I
was saying a little bit of that spiraling inward because you tend to be more
outward and I, I don’t think I’ve put this together quite yet until now. I tend
to be a little more inward in many ways and I think in that period I was so
busy teaching and practicing, I kind of did the opposite.
Anne: 15:19 And
parenting. Yeah, you did.
Thea: 15:19 I
went out a little bit more than I normally would be. So that’s curious. I don’t
think I’d seen that until now.
Anne: 15:30 Yeah,
which pushed this other side of you like this, this other side of me. And
brought us to the wholeness that we are now! I joke!
Thea: 15:41 As
we go through new challenges and edge pushing. My God.
Anne: 15:49 Absolutely.
Absolutely. As we’re, yeah. As we are both going through other changes, and
we’ve also just reflected on the fact that having gone through that intensity
in our earlier years and, and then becoming accustomed to cycles and cycles of
grief does inform you to become accustomed to all cycles and that they do move
and they’re waves, and it moves in and out. And if you just kind of tether
yourself while you get through that, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Thea: 16:23 Yeah.
Anne: 16:25 There
we go. As nonlinear is all that was. Hopefully that’s, that’s something and
something. And Happy holidays to all the grieving people out there, because I
know this brings it up as it does the winter and all of that. Right? So, all
Grief can seem indescribably unbearable. But it gets easier, we promise. And it can transform and give birth to something positive––and widen, deepen and enrich our capacity and wisdom as we move through life.
Anne’s article describing her personal experience with loss and grief was written and published a few years after the death of their parents in 2002, 11 days apart. It was recently republished again this year in Grief Digest Magazine, entitled Responding to Life.
VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW:
Anne: 00:00 Okay,
we’re recording. Okay. So we’re going to talk about grief today. And to inform
anyone listening. Thea and I both, and our sisters, lost both of our parents at
the end of 2002 after they both suffered pretty horrific, devastating brain
injuries and illnesses. Our mother from brain cancer at the young age of 52,
and our father from a brain injury following other health problems at the age
of 62. So that was pretty intense as anyone can imagine. Tt was not just the
loss, but also the years leading to the loss and how excruciating that was to
Thea: 01:07 And
the 11 days apart, you know, and the, the compact “pow” of the loss.
Anne: 01:10 Yeah.
It was. And, you know, I was Mom’s primary caretaker. She was not remarried.
Thea, she already had a family. So she also had a young child and she was
flying back, taking care of things as well. Then my dad’s secondary caretaker.
So it was just, it was so intense, right? As anyone who’s gone through loss
understands. And so we’ve been talking about this and I’ll post a link to the
article too that by chance I discovered––there was an article I had written
really not long after they died, but then I kind of held onto it and submitted
it for publication a few years later. So it was published about a decade ago
and it was just recently republished this year. So the first thing I think we
would like to talk about is to acknowledge for anyone who is suffering and in
grief grieving, going through the grieving process, that we get it so much and
that it is an experience that one cannot really convey or describe really,
unless you’ve stepped through that door. And we’re aware of the fact that the
world does not see or acknowledge what you are going through as you are walking
through your day to day life, trying to just cope with an unbearable,
indescribable pain. You know, I mean, it makes me want to cry when I’m––I don’t
know why I’m in touch with it recently. And that is the weird thing about
grief, it is always there, but it gets much more manageable and it transforms
and there’s a beauty. There is as much beauty to the pain as there is the pain,
I think over time, you know? And so yeah, you know, a couple of friends of mine
have just suffered very close losses. So that’s been a topic we were just
Anne: 03:44 Ricky
Gervais’ After Life––it’s a new Netflix series and it’s remarkable. It’s
extraordinary. His comprehension, his understanding of grief and his ability to
portray it. It’s very good. I highly recommend it. So, I think what we want to
talk about a little bit right now is, and let’s look at our time. As we had been
talking about even in last week’s conversation, which we entitled Responding to
Change and many other of our conversations have been kind of in keeping with
this theme of our responses to what life presents, right, and how impactful it
is. How our response to what comes obviously significantly influences our
life’s experience. And others’, you know, in this case with grief, others’
response to what we are going through is also impactful. And that article I
wrote about touched on how the lack of our society’s observance of grief, of
what people are going through. There is as I had written in the article,
there’s a short period of time where your loss is formally acknowledged, but
maybe it’s our busy world, our busy society, our busy everyday hectic pace. I’m
not sure what it is. I also think there’s something unhealthy in the way we
cope. I think there is some times a sense of putting on a face. I think there’s
a sense of kind of faking it––that we, that we should, you know, just appear as
if things are okay.
Thea: 06:10 If
it doesn’t interrupt your thought too much, I think there’s something that I’m
seeing when we’re articulating it is––your article says so eloquently really
how you’re given this space and time, brief period of time where it’s
acknowledged and then it kind of just slips away, but you’re still holding it.
And that’s really the time where the burden gets heavier. And because the
shock, depending on what grief stages or how it comes to someone, you know,
ours was, I can speak from that experience. That was, it was just so intense.
And, and because it was so intense for us, I felt like, you know, everything
was blown apart, all of our reality in a certain way. So, so taking us to our
knees that the only thing that could come through was grace. Like it carried us
through the horrificness of it in a way. And then after the shocking part sort
of starts to wear off, that’s when the new stages of that grief start to come
in, in a more thunderous way in a sense. And what I’m seeing in this though is
like, different cultures have different observances. You know, maybe you wear
black for a year or whatever it is because it really does take that length of
time. And our culture–we don’t do that so much in any real way.
Thea: 07:48 But
what I’m seeing is that we have the observance for this short period, and then
you have the funeral or the celebration of life or whatever it is, but it’s
like boom, boom, boom. And it’s like the meaning again is getting lost and it’s
the image rather than the essence. Even the advice that you’re given through
grief counselors to not make any big changes, which you speak to really well in
the article, but it’s again, it’s like it gets lost. The words, the meaning,
the intent, the impulse that’s sound gets distorted. And then it’s like you’re
standing in nothingness.
Anne: 08:31 It’s,
you know I remember how I worded it and I don’t want to repeat exactly how I
worded it, but basically it’s cautioning us, right? To not be reactive. To not
be reactionary, maybe is a better way of putting it. But in so doing, it’s kind
of throwing the baby out with the bath water. So yes, we should not, it’s
helpful in life to not react impulsively without thought, without care. But
that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t respond. Right? And that we shouldn’t act upon
the process that we’re going through that we shouldn’t act upon some of the
instincts or the awarenesses or changes that it’s bringing up in us. Right? So
that’s one thing I think that it goes hand in hand with the way the culture
observes our loss as well. It’s true that we have to get on with it. Right?
And, you know, I remember in the midst of it, and I have since kind of lamented
how challenging it is with a death. So the person who’s been caretaking
experiencing incredible loss after they’re already exhausted from the
caretaking, and then they’ve got to do all this other stuff after the death,
all the legal stuff, all of the you know, the estate situation.
Thea: 10:21 The
Anne: 10:26 The
business of it. But, there is also something necessary in that because it keeps
you moving, you know, and there is a tethering there, as unpleasant as it is,
so that you don’t kind of go off the deep end. Not to say that one doesn’t at
times go off the deep end. And I would say I, you know, those first couple of
years were almost debilitating. Right? I mean, it was just, you know, I drank a
lot, you know, and I sheltered myself a lot. I did go through the motions and I
did what I absolutely had to do. But other than that, you know, it was, it was
rough as you know.
Thea: 11:16 And
I know that too. You know, I think so much of the way grief comes to us or what
we’re given through it–– knowing that I had a child to take care of, it
minimized the spaces I could even go into. So they kind of came in a softer
current over years because I had a living proof purpose that I had to keep
going for. Right? And that changes things.
Anne: 11:46 Yeah.
Totally. You couldn’t, you couldn’t fall down. Right? And so that also means
that probably it may have lingered longer. Your process may have just been
elongated you know, but who’s to say? Right? Cause it’s still, I mean, there
are still times, once in a great while, I will like, I’ll weep. Right?
Thea: 12:11 I
Anne: 12:11 But
also you know, on the flip side, for anyone going through it, God, I mean, as
devastating and difficult as it’s been, I’m grateful to them for the gift that
they gave us in that. I would not be who I am. I would not be the mother I am.
I would not be…There’s so much that it deepened in our experience, right, to
have gone through that. So there’s some good stuff that comes from it, you
know, with all of life’s, you know I mean it’s cliche again, but the deeper the
suffering, the deeper the experience, the deeper the wisdom I think.
Thea: 13:13 Right.
And that goes, we spoke just for a moment beforehand is like, yeah, as, we love
more, as we grieve more and feel the depths and breadths, and all the angles
and spaces of feeling––I mean these are the things that make us really human.
It allows, I mean, I feel for myself, it’s allowed me to become a bigger
person, more able to meet more people where they are. The more experiences I
have, the wisdom, right? The more that there is a reflection within me to
another, the more we share, the more we connect, the more we serve our purpose
being here on Earth.
Anne: 14:00 Oh
gosh. And it reminds me of a comment a friend made on my Facebook page when I
had just posted that this article got republished. And she had lost her mom.
And she said, you know, it makes one aware, it’s a reminder that we don’t ever
know what anyone else is going through as they’re walking through. Right? And
so when you’ve gone through this yourself, it brings an awareness to you always
that there are many layers there in everyone. It brings a compassion to I think
one’s interactions with everyone and any one, because you start to reveal or
you start to realize that so much more may be happening, has happened. You have
not walked in their shoes. And that we really, this life, there are few that
escape, you know, sorrow and pain in this life. And so just that awareness and
compassion brings such a dimension to our relationships, our regard for people
and the world really.
Thea: 15:19 Because
within sorrow, I mean, I want to say healthy sorrow, because there’s tragedy
that is like, there feels like a wrongness in, you know, an injustice. But
there’s, when there’s the healthy sorrow, I feel like within that is a real big
seed of what’s beautiful. You know, it brings us to that which is––beauty, you
Anne: 15:50 It’s
a sweet sorrow. It’s a sweet sorrow. And it’s like having gone through that
experience, going through this kind of experience and similar experiences, it
definitely, like, it reveals that layer to existence. And we probably should
start looking to wrap it up soon, and I’ll only touch on this now, but I mean,
beyond the deepening, I mean, it’s, you know, I discovered my faith through
that process too. And when I say that, I’m not saying a particular, an
organized religion or denomination or, you know, and as I’ve said to people who
I’ve gotten into discussions about this with, it’s like I feel that it’s much
larger than any one particular organized set of beliefs, but a kind of you
know, an all encompassing understanding connection to my source, connection to
the divine, connection to other realms. And it’s, you know, it’s been a gradual
process for me really since the deaths of my parents. And it’s been an organic,
beautiful thing too. And one that feels very experiential. I remember a friend
of mine who a German friend of mine who, who lives here in California where
it’s really, people don’t talk a lot about God and faith here, in the Bay area,
we’re in the Bay area. There’s almost a disdain for that. Right? And he had
remarked that it has really struck him how I didn’t, I don’t have this from
having been raised in it, you know, ’cause we were raised kind of half assed
Thea: 18:07 But
I would say my experience was there was a sense of intelligence and divinity,
the acknowledgement of God in our life even though it wasn’t through any direct
channel or picture. But that picture that there is, there’s meaning and purpose
Anne: 18:33 Yeah.
An understanding of there being more than we are seeing. Yeah. Right. More than
is visible. I agree. But, he was remarking that, you know, that it came to me
through experience in this way as opposed to where it’s come through for him
and through practice. But anyway, you know, I won’t get off on a tangent, but
there’s something so beautifully rich in the experience. Go ahead.
Thea: 19:09 Well,
I want to say, I don’t think it’s quite a tangent, but I think it will be a
thread to come back to that we explore a little bit more because I want to
reiterate again in our dialogues that we’re sharing together here. These are
our reflections from our experiences and our understanding of those experiences
and the way we then choose to engage with our life and the world and the people
in our lives. And it’s not so much about is someone testing, has this been
proven? This is through our own experience, which I think, what I want to wrap
it into a little bit is––losing, having our parents move on at our young age,
which felt very young at the time I think removed, I think I said this, I
remember feeling it when, when it was going on, just that when they were gone,
there was no longer any image of a guidance or you know, mother, father,
between myself and God. So my relationship to whatever I call God, source,
whatever, became even more clear and tangible for me because there was nothing
in between it. I didn’t have anything separating it. And I think what that has
brought to me through my own journey and you, is what I perceive is a gift and
for me to do something with. So it’s, it’s like, it’s allowed me to develop
that capacity more and more and more to listen to myself, to listen to what I
Intuit or instinctively respond to. You know, trusting oneself because knowing
oneself is more than just me. Like that there’s wisdom that moves through and
shows itself to me through my experiences. So, yeah.
Anne: 21:14 Absolutely.
Thanks for making that distinction. Thanks for making that distinction. Yeah.
It’s, once again, it’s you know, I’d made this comment recently, but there is
some knowledge, there is, there is information that sometimes cannot be
transferred through language or books or teaching, but only through experience.
Right? It’s when the veil drops, you know, or when we walk through a door. So
anyway, it’s an exclusive club. So anyone who has experienced it, welcome to it
and promise it gets better and there’s so much richness to the experience that
one can be in and does become quite grateful for. And we’ll probably touch on
this more next time.
Thea: 22:09 I
think we should. And I just, there’s one more thing now I have to say that as
you say that there’s more richness. I feel a little bit like it is that
experience, because at first through it, things become more dull and it’s kind
of like you’re going into a cocoon a bit and the veils wrap around you. And
then when you pull yourself back through that, the world is more vibrant again.
It changes. But you do go through a darkness.
Anne: 22:40 You
do, you do. And so do not expect all of a sudden, “Oh you know…”
There is a deadening and a darkness to it at first, but you have to go through
that to come out to a brighter light.
Thea: 22:54 Yeah.
Well thank you so much. I look forward to us talking more about it ’cause
there’s so, so many other spaces within it for us to, you know, think about it
as the culture of how to alter and change and support or develop new ways or
old ways to honor the grieving process when each individual goes through it. So
it can be a transformative space that’s recognized and really honored.
Anne: 23:26 Yes,
I agree. All right, we’ll think on that.
Our response to challenge and change is informed by our perspective––are we part of an infinitely complex, purposeful design or is our existence merely accidental?
Anne: 00:00 Recording to the cloud.
So we’re doing this a little differently this time because Thea’s here, we’re
hanging out, and we’re very relaxed here in a circle of redwoods. So what we’ve
been talking about is how we respond to change, responding to change,
responding to challenges, obstacles that life presents us with and recognizing
that something helpful to inform one’s experience in reacting to change is to
recognize that this is either intended to be a school or there’s certainly
opportunities to learn and grow from these experiences and that it makes it
much easier to move through without resistance, as much resistance––or to move
through with more grace, to move through with a focus on understanding the
experience as much as one can and moving through it rather than resisting it or
Thea: 01:30 And even moving with it
while it moves through, I think, is something as opposed to resisting, but to be
able to see when there are these obstacles or challenges that come into our
lives that are pushing us into areas that are more uncomfortable or unknown,
how to sort of listen to the signals, listen to the current that’s moving with
you and use the current to continue your movement wherever it is your goals are
or…destinies as opposed to trying to turn around in the current, as opposed
to pushing past it. I don’t know. I’m losing the analogy.
Anne: 02:28 No, I agree. I mean…
Thea: 02:30 …Which allows for a bit more harmonious, enjoyable moving down…
Anne: 02:35 You also have the
opportunity in that then to find your true path. I mean, it rarely looks
exactly like you thought it was going to look like, right? And so to be open to
the possibility that you’re being redirected in ultimately a positive way, if
you can just kind of work with it, you know?
Thea: 03:05 Right. That what comes to
you is of a good nature and you are to find ways to work with it. To continue
Anne: 03:17 Yeah. Right. And even the
things that come to you of a bad nature, we can speculate that that will assist
our growing as well. Depending on how we respond to it, and identify and
Thea: 03:29 Well that’s what I’m
saying––how we respond to it I think is what makes it good or bad, more than it
may be. That’s what I’m just wondering. It’s like everything that comes up is
there to show you something. Now it may be that you veer a little bit away out
of that sector, you know, maybe it shows itself so you can go, “Oh, I need
to reroute a little bit like this.” But that everything that comes is of a
nature that is there for you to see and to utilize it, is basically what you’re
Anne: 04:03 Absolutely. I mean, I
don’t think we’re here by accident. Let’s put it that way. Or you can choose
to, you know, live that way. Good luck. You know, if you think that this is
just an accident, I don’t know, whatever works for people. But it certainly
resonates much more for me and makes much more sense to me that there is a
purpose to it because whatever I observe around me demonstrates that there’s a
perfect purpose to everything, you know, to the interaction of, you know, these
trees to the earth, to the earth to us, us to the trees and all. It’s a pretty
perfect design. So the idea that we’re some accidental blip in it sounds
ridiculous, but anyway.
Thea: 04:54 Sounds just preposterous.
Anne: 04:54 It’s like the most
make-believe fairy tale, right? That doesn’t make sense. That sounds like
fiction. Anyway, we’re getting off on a tangent.
Thea: 05:08 A little bit. So it
started with, how did we start this, finding grace in the movements and change
Anne: 05:16 How we respond to change,
basically, and what can help us, what can inform us?
Thea: 05:22 And we can take that to
an analogy of birth a bit. I mean it’s a little bit like, here comes the next
phase. It’s uncomfortable and difficult and scary, cause you don’t know. It’s,
I think, what did I say last conversation we had was it’s unbelievable, the
space that you’re being asked to go into. You don’t have a reference for it.
You don’t have anything you can liken to it. And then still the only way
through it is to unfold a little more.
Anne: 06:00 Well the only way through
it is forward. That’s the main thing.
Thea: 06:04 Forward. But the forward
comes with a pushing. There is a pushing, right? And there is a contracting,
but simultaneously there’s an opening, there’s a letting go in the contracting.
So you’re having both those forces at the same time, practically. Right? This
and this. The gloves, sorry.
Anne: 06:27 No the light’s moving.
It’s a pretty light, but it’s kind of like…can’t see us at all.
Thea: 06:31 Blinding?
Anne: 06:35 Oh, look what happens
there. When I do that and move it slightly. Let’s see.
Anne: 06:40 This is to continue on
from where we were because we started building on this.
Thea: 06:47 And we wanted to clarify
and explore a little bit more what we were discussing about when something
comes. That essentially the nature of reality, what comes to us, what thoughts,
what challenges, whatever it is, is good. And that doesn’t, it’s not, or maybe
it is the same as “It’s all good man,” because it is, but there is
Anne: 07:18 So my point was like, I’m
loathe to get into, you know, relativity because I think that can go astray so
quickly, but like we were touching on in the discussion sometimes yesterday. I
sense, I’m eager to get beyond the duality, too. Like, there’s more to it,
there’s more dimension here. And so I think you talking about then accepting
that the ultimate nature of reality is good. Well, and is God right?
Thea: 07:52 And is God. And so that
that comes, is good. And it’s in how we meet that which comes, that determines
our experiences of good or bad, but the good is there as the foundation of it.
And so do, do we struggle with it? Do we rail against it? Do we look at what
it’s asking us to bring, to show, which then allows the good to come. I mean, I
don’t know, I felt like I was more clear about it a little bit ago, but
there’s, there’s like the layers of it as they come to us. It’s like the
underneath current, that which is existing all the time. That is good.
Anne: 08:45 And that’s what I feel
like it relates to the whole point of me saying, you know, I don’t believe
we’re accidental. You know, the idea of us being accidental, of there not being
an infinitely complex plan at work or design at work seems absurd––I think if
you’re walking through life fairly aware.
Thea: 09:07 I mean, and then if we
even think of just an ultimate-ish plan being the macro of the microcosms that
we’re living in every moment, I mean.
Anne: 09:18 It all contributes, it’s
all part of it. Existing on so many levels and layers within ourselves, within
our stages of development, of humanity’s development, within every and all.
It’s complex. But I suppose what it comes down to is, you know, I think
probably it’s looking at it one way or the other. It’s either that this is by
design and therefore purposeful. Every moment is an opportunity to act with
Thea: 09:54 True. Yeah, I think
that’s huge. That’s liberating. That’s empowering. That’s everything really.
Because if all those things, I mean, and I’m even talking like the little
thoughts, you know––and we’ve shared this living and knowing each other for so
long––you know, if you’re leaving the house and there’s that little blip that
says check, check if the whatever, the window’s closed or the fire’s off or
grab your keys or grab a hat. Those times that we don’t listen to those little
things, we then look back and go, Oh, I did know. I’m taking that as the thread
of all of it because it’s there.
Anne: 10:44 It’s intelligence.
There’s an intelligence there.
Thea: 10:44 There’s an intelligence
and intelligibility. It’s there for us to pay attention to or to ignore, and
that sort of sets our route.
Anne: 10:53 And so getting back to
moving through challenges, meeting challenges, how we face our obstacles and
move through life. That is what sets the tone. That is what informs the way we
Thea: 11:12 Yeah. And is it
purposeful? Is it meaningful? That depends on what we choose, like how we’re
able to perceive it because it is, we’re either aware of it or we’re not.
Anne: 11:26 Right. And probably
learning and growing either way. Right? Hopefully. Sometimes we can get pretty
Thea: 11:38 And God, I mean, It’s
like even those getting stuck, Oh, we were likening this to an analogy of birth
later on in our conversation. We didn’t get there yet, but even that, right? Is
there some something that getting stuck for a moment and then you find a new
route through it, but you have to sometimes surrender then to that being stuck.
I am stuck, and then something else can move or you can get back into the
movement or be picked up by the movement.
Anne: 12:12 Well because you know, a
theme that has come up in other discussions I’ve had recently is just that
everything is moving, and so it’s when we try to when we put on this pretense
of it being static, it makes the whole thing way harder, right? It’s always
moving. So we just have to––I mean this sounds, it always gets down to the
platitudinal, trite cliches.
Thea: 12:50 Well there’s truth in
Anne: 12:50 Yes, they’re here for a
reason, but that’s the “going with the flow.” And you know, I don’t
mean it in that way.
Thea: 12:58 Well, here’s the thing
though, as you were saying, being static, being without movement, that’s what
creates the static and what earlier in some conversation we were having, I was
thinking that’s part of––oh, talking about the birth or the moving through
obstacles, the unfolding or the shucking off of that which is staticky. Like
those little pieces that aren’t in the flow. The more we let go of those with
less and less of our own resistance to them being let go, the freer we are in
that flow, the more strong the current is and the clearer it is, whatever it
is, however, moving.
Anne: 13:42 Totally. Well that’s also
you know, it’s casting away expectation of what one thought it was going to be,
look like, or whatever. That’s one thing, is being able to do that quickly. It
makes you get through things a lot more quickly and more easily I think with
less resistance. But also, it strikes me to then bring up the fact, the
importance of then what foundational principles are you holding onto? Because
we have to hold on to something, right? To get us through whatever it is. So
what is the foundational principle that allows you to just with grace, with
dignity, with courage, with faith, faith, faith. That’s the biggest part of it,
right? With faith. So are those? Those are the foundational principles, right?
Thea: 14:39 Like every religion has these tenets, ways of being that you hold onto. And so those are the framework. Those are the structure. That’s like the bones of it all for everything else to work around.
Anne: 14:57 Exactly. But you know,
the words can stop losing their meaning. Right. And that’s the problem with
Thea: 15:06 And that’s why there are
aspects that we’ve had conversations about. It’s like we’re in a time of
developing a new language. Language is constantly moving because things start
to mean different things when they lose their, their root to the meanings. So
sometimes we have to find ways to revitalize those meanings. And even maybe
it’s just bringing the depth and breadth of these things to go with the flow. I
mean all these phrases. They’re all in it.
Anne: 15:45 The Tao, yeah. I think we
should cut it.
Thea: 15:58 I think it’s done. I
think it’s done. Yeah. Well, there might be more thoughts that come up.
Anne: 16:03 There may be! All right.
See ya folks.
Both my kids were born at home. People have often remarked on the courage I must have had to have made that choice. It wasn’t courage––it was a desire for a comfortable, supportive birth environment I knew was the best bet for my kids and me to avoid unnecessary trauma and intervention. There are times when medical intervention is necessary, but most of the time, the medical system itself and its medicalized birth practices create the issues which lead to intervention in the first place.
Our bodies are designed to give birth. Fit, healthy women in most cases should be able to deliver their babies naturally––if only they are allowed to. I was 37 years old with my first pregnancy and 40 with my second. My husband and I eschewed all the tests and screenings recommended for “a woman my age,” as we were committed to bringing our children into the world, regardless of what abnormalities or issues such screenings might suggest. And we were blessed with two wonderfully healthy children born without complication or intervention.
I remember being questioned about our choice to birth at home when I was pregnant with our eldest. Well-intended friends pointed to historical maternal and infant mortality rates as an argument for hospital birth. A closer look at the history, however, largely implicates hospitals and doctors in the staggeringly high maternal mortality rates from puerperal fever in the 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries––in which it was common practice for the medical profession to examine pregnant women and deliver babies after performing autopsies, WITHOUT WASHING THEIR HANDS. As Suzanne Humphries, MD and Roman Bystrianyk emphasize in their landmark book “Dissolving Illusions: Disease, Vaccines, and the Forgotten History,” puerperal fever’s massive maternal death toll profoundly impacted the fabric of society. It is no wonder this tragic and largely avoidable episode in recent human history influences our fears surrounding childbirth.
Furthermore, the medical system in the US is the cause of so many deaths that researchers from Johns Hopkins wrote an open letter to the CDC to request that CDC change its record collection criteria to accurately inform the public of this alarming statistic. With medical errors being the 3rd leading cause of death in our country, the hospital hardly seems a sensible environment for a healthy expectant mother to deliver her healthy baby into. On the contrary, the mother and baby would seem at less risk of fatal complications in the safety of their own home, attended to by trained midwives.
Beyond the health and safety of the mother and child, there are many more reasons to deliver at home. In the privacy of her own home, the mother is allowed to labor at her own pace. She can labor in the comfort and quiet of her own bedroom, bathtub or birth tub. While her midwives monitor her and the baby’s vitals throughout, they are unobtrusive and respectful, and they accommodate her timing, not theirs. She is not surrounded by or attached to any machines and monitors, and she is able to move her body freely.
Without intervention or epidural, labor proceeds naturally, as baby and mother coordinate their rhythm and contractions to bring the birth. The midwives do not pressure the mother to take Pitocin to induce labor. She is allowed to proceed as her body and her baby’s body dictates.
Family members or chosen friends are the only other people in the home, quietly and respectfully on-hand to support the laboring mother and whatever she may need at the time. A hushed reverence pervades the scene. And when the baby arrives, he or she is welcomed into the quiet, warm room, surrounded only by loving family, friends and trusted midwives the mother has gotten to know well over the course of her pregnancy.
Newborn baby and mother remain together in the comfort of their bed, while over the next couple of hours the midwives gently monitor, record birth stats and care for the mother (one of my midwives even brought me a plate of scrambled eggs after the birth of our daughter, as she felt I needed the protein). Once they determine all is well, they pack up their oxygen and equipment, hug the new mother, kiss the new baby and go home, only to return the next day and beyond to continue post-partum monitoring and care.
Mother and baby, big brother and father fall asleep in the comfort of their own beds. What a lovely way to welcome this new member of the family. And what a lovely way to come into the world.
What better entry into the world than the loving sanctuary of one’s family home? The medicalization of birth in the US may account for its alarmingly high infant and maternal mortality rates––so let’s take a closer look when evaluating which environment poses the bigger risk.
**NOTE TO VIEWER/LISTENER: Anne read from a few online articles she had printed out right before their chat, but the print outs didn’t display a few things properly, and she guessed at source and date of a couple. The piece she thought was from Harvard Medical Review was actually from Harvard Business Review (link below), and the NPR piece on the Johns Hopkins study was from May 2016 (link below as well.)
We’ve included a few additional links as well, in order to help anyone get started in doing their own research about the risks and benefits of natural home birth vs medicalized hospital births. The transcript to the video can be found below the links:
Anne: 00:05 So we decided we want to
talk about home birth this episode, and it follows on a friend is coming up to
having her third child and has decided to do a home birth. And we were talking
about it, and given that you had all of your boys at home, your healthy boys at
home, and I had both my kids at home, and our mother had our youngest at home,
we have some experience with that and thought it related to a lot of the other
discussions we’ve had about empowerment, authority, autonomy, self
responsibility and more. (That’s A loud, long train horn!)
Thea: 01:09 You know, it all depends
on the personality, I think, of the train driver. They vary. Sometimes it’s
Anne: 01:19 And what kind of day
they’re having! So, just to start out with a couple of thoughts, and we’ll go
from there. A lot of times I’ll be in a group of women or be talking to women
about birth, and having had a home birth, and those that haven’t had that
experience will often say, “Oh, how brave. You’re so brave.” (Wow.
That guy is really agro!) So yeah, they’ll say, “Oh, you’re so
brave.” And I always say, “No trust me, I think you’re the brave
one.” The women who manage to have uncomplicated births without
intervention, according to the plan that they had set forth when they came into
the hospital––I can’t really even imagine having that experience. How much
harder you would be to have had you know, as gentle a birth as birth can be.
Thea: 02:30 Right? Yeah. I mean, as
birth is this place of absolutely power and vulnerability at the same time, and
to be in a situation that you aren’t even really comfortable or quite relaxed.
I can’t even fathom.
Anne: 02:52 I mean, any woman who’s
gone through this knows––you’re in a different state of mind.
Thea: 03:01 If you’re allowed to be.
And I wonder about that too. I mean, I think, I don’t know, I haven’t done it
in the hospital. And I wonder if women who have given birth in hospitals have
had varying experiences of being in that altered state. Or not.
Anne: 03:18 Or if they have to always
kind of be on in order to say no or to watch what’s going on––I mean, just
alone, so, you know obviously complications can happen in any situation, right?
But first off most midwives are incredibly experienced at delivering babies,
actually delivering them, not C-sections, but actually delivering them. And
delivering them in a number of different circumstances. I mean, my son for
example, the cord was wrapped around his head as happens In think in like a
quarter of births. Right? My midwife who delivered our daughter, helped me
deliver our daughter, she worked in the back countries of Amish land, right?
She delivered twins, she delivered breech babies. She could do anything, you
know? And it was wonderful to be in the hands of someone so beautifully
experienced, no matter what came up. And of course, midwives, they bring the
oxygen, they have a lot of things at their disposal right here at the house.
And they have relationships with doctors at hospitals so that if you need to
transfer, you can go there. But. Provided it goes just the normal course,
you’re in your own home, you’re in your own bed or bathtub or whatever you choose.
You are able to go at your own pace. You don’t have to speed it up or, or
either say no constantly to Pitocin or finally accept taking Pitocin to
stimulate your contractions in order to get things moving because the hospital
won’t allow you to be there for longer than a couple of days, et cetera. Right?
So many things. And on top of it, you don’t have to worry about people coming
and checking, taking blood, all the things, who knows. I mean, I have no idea
what it’s like ’cause I’ve not done it except for having watched documentaries
on the difference between those types of births. But you know, you don’t need
to be hooked up to machines. You don’t have the constant intrusion of people
coming in and out. And more. So it just facilitates the birth experience
happening healthily and smoothly.
Thea: 05:53 It does. As so many
pieces of literature about the space of birth liken it to love making in a way,
too. Because anything that requires a space of settling in, relaxing, letting
down, opening up––t’s a very intimate experience. And picturing love making in
the hospital, they don’t go so well together, you know. So I think that’s one
picture. And another thing that was sparking in my mind while you were laying
out those examples is––being a midwife, which is “with woman”, is
“with them, is much like being a parent, knowing when to intervene and
when to stay back and allow the process to simply occur. And you’re frankly
allowing that space to be there. We’re doing that as parents for our children.
Sometimes failing, sometimes being right on point. We’re doing that as
teachers. Anything that is a guiding post requires that ability to know when to
intervene and when to sit back to let the wisdom of the process have its place.
And that’s what gets lost in the hospital, right? Because since we have all
these things to check, we do. So that’s one part.
Anne: 07:31 Agreed. I remember even
as a child being able to hold my youngest sister in my arms before she was
even, you know, washed off and like insisting on that. I remember insisting
that I wanted to. And mom was on the bean bag in our family room. It was an
extraordinarily different experience than she had had with her previous three
births with me and our other sister, she had had them in one hospital and had
just pretty bad experiences being forced to inducebeing kept away from her
child at length and more. I remember then with you, she tried a different
hospital hoping that would be better. Not at all. And finally went to the next
obvious choice, which was not even legal in the state at the time.
Thea: 08:39 I don’t know if it is
yet. It wasn’t even 20 years ago.
Anne: 08:42 Right, where we grew up.
Right. So I guess what I’d like to do, I think you had articulated this, maybe
you want to say it again about just inverting…
Thea: 08:55 Well I’ve had those
conversations with people too who’ve said how courageous to do it at home and
my feeling quite the same as you. That, “No.” And then I was thinking
that it’s really about taking that image, that picture of what birth is and
it’s become inverted. It’s slipped through the wormhole to the other side, you
know, the images of what’s courageous, and what’s comforting and safe, you
know? And I think that there’s a lot of movement of that, at least in the
communities that we live in, of people recognizing that birth needs to be re
looked at to be redone, to be safe. And to be non medicalized to give families
the best start. You know, I think one of the big parts of it being so
medicalized is that it seems to create distance when there should be connection
right off the bat, you know? And it’s hard enough. I mean, that’s the part that
boggles my mind. It’s hard enough, just the actual physical laboring of it. And
then really the weeks after of the care, I mean, it’s amazing what we do.
Anne: 10:24 Well, it’s, I mean, let’s
go further. It’s not just, yes, the actual physical laboring, but I’ve never
experienced anything like it. Right? And having done it we all, most women I
think would agree you get to a point and I guess that that’s around transition,
but you get to a point where you cannot imagine going further. It is
unbearable. Right? And it’s hard to describe. It’s not a pain like, like a
wound. It’s the most unpleasant discomfort I’ve ever had. That goes beyond
pain, but it’s not sharp pain.
Thea: 11:21 I would even call it more,
I mean, I know we all have our different colorings of it and I think that
that’s such an interesting idea we’ve talked about even in another
conversation––about what we identify as pain and how we articulate it and how
we hold it in our understanding. But it’s more like “unbelievable.”
It’s going to a space that is unbelievable. And there is required a complete
surrender into what is unbelievable.
Anne: 11:54 Yes, yes. And a courage,
I mean, and I, I remember…
Thea: 12:02 Your first birth? I
remember it, too.
Anne: 12:04 Well, the first birth you
remember because, and I’ll say to the viewer, this is after Thea’s third birth,
third home birth, and she has her youngest in a sling having been born seven
weeks before. And she’s there in my little apartment, you know, helping me
along. And me in my heady way and crazy trippy way that birth sends you into
not realizing that I was as close as I was, just somehow thinking that it was
just getting, I was just getting more, more pathetically weak and unable to, to
deal with it. And I remember you just marveling that I was still talking about
it instead of just going into myself. Right? And then the second time Thea got
there 15 minutes after the delivery of my daughter. And I remember at the point
where my midwife was saying she’s, because of course the midwives arethey’re
checking all the time. They’re monitoring the heart rate of the baby, yours,
everything. Right? And intimately, and frequently. They’re right there. And she
said, “Okay, you know, if they don’t come out,”––we weren’t sure, boy
or girl––”they don’t come out in the next one or doesn’t start coming out,
we’re going to have you change your position.” And in that moment, and she
told me why, because her heart rate was, not coming up as quickly as it should.
And I remember thinking, “Okay,” and all I could think of was that
scene from Braveheart where Mel Gibson’s character’s be being disemboweled and
he shouts “Freedom!” And I think to myself, because it’s based on a true
story, I thought to myself, “If somebody could do that and shout
‘Freedom!”, I can do this and I can get her out.” And I did. Right?
So it’s like we all go through all these different processes. (Laughter).
Thea: 14:25 (Laughter) Wow!
Anne: 14:25 But doing that, or as we
were talking about earlier knowing very deep down that something has to
be.You’re in touch with what’s going on there with your child. And I’ve heard
so many stories from so many women who have said, whether it’s the doctor or
the midwife or anybody saying no, you know, you’re not far, or you’ve still got
a while…And the woman is just like, “No, I know they need to come out,
and not only do they need to come out, I need to transfer because they need to
come out now.” And the mother gets in touch with an instinct in her that
she’s never had before. That that puts her authority over her child above all
else. And in home birth in, in my experience and mind, really allows that to
happen in a much more conducive way, I guess. Pardon me. Than the hospital,
Thea: 15:42 Yeah. A total different
framework. Can we pause for one quick second?
Anne: 15:50 Yeah. As I get a drink of
water so I don’t hack all over the place. Hold on. Yeah. Okay. So we just got
off on a tangent, but I want to point out a couple of things to folks who are
looking at this and are interested in the idea of home birth but are concerned
about the risks. So this came out this last year or so (NOTE: IT WAS ACTUALLY
MAY 2016) ––a study by researchers at Johns Hopkins medicine says medical
errors should rank as the third leading cause of death in the United States.
And that’s I have a feeling that’s probably even higher, you know, because
that’s really what’s, what’s attributed to medical errors. And our experience
you know, extensive experience in the hospitals taking care of our parents
suggests to me that there are a lot of things, a lot of dots that are not
connected where intervention causes more complications that lead to death as
Thea: 16:52 And unnecessary
interventions and even mis and ill communicated Interventions. So much of it I
think is like the whole system is so big that the communication channels are
not connected and cohesive and things get missed, or whatever.
Anne: 17:13 Absolutely. It’s become
quite dehumanized, you know, and you don’t want to really bring a child into
such an dehumanised system to give them a good start, you know? And it’s not to
say that there aren’t some hospitals with some really great teams and great
departments that really––and I know there’s a movement to revamp that too, and
to give women more options of even like water births in hospitals and try to
create an environment that’s a little closer to a birth center. So I know that
consciousness is there, but you could also just do it at home, you know? So
then here’s another I think this was like Harvard Medical Review. (NOTE: IT WAS
ACTUALLY HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW.) I don’t have it printed out where it is, but
“Rising US maternal mortality rate demands action from employers,”
and it goes in to say “The US maternal mortality rate has more than
doubled from 10.3 per 100,000 live births in 1991 to 23.8 in 2014. Over 700
women a year die of complications related to pregnancy each year in the United
States. And two thirds of those deaths are preventable. 50,000 women suffer
from life threatening complications of pregnancy. A report from the
Commonwealth Fund released in December found American women have the greatest
risk of dying from pregnancy complications among 11 high income
countries.” Wow. And then another one I think this was CBS News. Yeah, and
I think this is, let’s see. This was a 2013 story, but “US has highest
first day infant mortality out of industrialized world, group reports. About
11,300 newborns die within 24 hours of their birth in the U S each year, 50%
more first day deaths than all other industrialized countries combined. I
Anne: 19:33 So, the other thing I
want to bring up, and I don’t have all the data in front of me, but if you
really, if you look into the history of midwifery and then the involvement
ofthe movement toward surgeons getting involved in birth. I mean, because since
time immemorial, really women have been…
Thea: 20:10 The carriers of birth.
Anne: 20:13 Yeah. The midwives have
always been women. Until really the last couple hundred years. I imagine, I
mean, it seemed like an easy gig. Right? And, you know, and they’re also,
there’s good intention behind it too, because there were complications and
there were complications for lots of reasons that don’t actually apply anymore.
Thea: 20:38 Sanitation, cleanliness,
Anne: 20:39 Absolutely. Not to mention––okay.
Well then, then let’s get into this. So it’s like a little known tidbit that
should be discussed a lot more in our history books when we’re looking at
childbirth infant mortality infectious disease and more. But there was an
epidemic of puerperal fever1700’s and on through the 1800s and the advent and
during the real explosion of the industrialized revolution where surgeons were
not washing their hands. And there was this, you know, it was like a
progressive idea that washing hands is helpful in the medical field. There
seemed to be a resistance to washing one’s hands. And so you would have the
doctors, the surgeons leaving the corpse and death and going straight over to
deliver babies. And that resulted in this huge epidemic of maternal mortality.
It was this epidemic of puerperal fever. And that really didn’t start changing
on an institutionalized level until the forties, the 1940s, where that became
implemented as a rule that you have to wash your hands before helping deliver a
baby. So it’s the implications of that are staggering. And it’s its own
conversation or book really where you have to consider how that impacted the
society, the societal fabric. You had hundreds of thousands of women dying in
childbirth. So you had this staggering number of orphans resulting from that
right around the time of the industrial revolution, which led to, you know,
families without mothers child labor…
Thea: 23:07 The misery of a time. The
children. Yeah. That’s amazing.
Anne: 23:11 Oh my God. When the women
aren’t around to manage things on a whole, widespread level. So you had that
and, and what was the other thing we were talking about? We’re just talking
about like even just the birth practices of you know, the earlier part of last
century, I mean, Twilight, chloroform, forceps, all those interventions…
Thea: 23:42 Vacuum.
Anne: 23:42 They look at that now and
they realize how many deaths and complications that caused. Right? So I think
that if anyone is remotely interested in the empowering and healthy experience
of delivering your child at home, I would recommend, you know, a cursory
examination of the real history of that. And why we have gotten so afraid of
childbirth’s dangers and what those dangers really are now and how those
factors can be controlled or what of those factors even apply anymore.
Thea: 24:31 Right. And, and what it
would mean, really in a vast way, if as large portions of our communities
started to really bring it back to the home space, what would that do to our
communities in a broad and far seeing line? What ways would that change our
initial bonding with our children and therefore our relationship and dynamics
of parenting? I mean the relationship aspect goes on and on and on and
trickles. If we can minimize those pivotal, intrinsic to who we become and what
we work with traumas, as we come into the world. Because we all have our
traumas to work through. And if in this basic, deep realm of entering the
earth, if there’s love and warmth and safety filling us and feeding us as the
parent and as the baby coming in, what would that do to our world? As opposed
to the fear and tension and separation we experience.
Anne: 25:45 Absolutely. And traumas.
I mean, just the interventions that are practiced as routine in the US birth
practicesis traumatic. On first day of life, second day of life, you know. Just
iimagine what it could be like for a human being to enter this realm and be
laying there in one’s mother’s arms, in the warm and dimly lit room, quiet,
surrounded only by loving family and friends.
Thea: 26:42 Reverent.
Anne: 26:42 Loving midwives. Because
by the way, for anyone also wondering, the midwife always brings an assist,
another midwife, they assist each other. There’s always two of them. What a
difference would that make to our world if that’s how we all came into the
world, right? So, so think about that. You know, we’re, we’re up on time. Maybe
we’ll talk more about this.
Thea: 27:10 Yeah, there are so many
angles and, and colorings of this dialogue that really play out into all of the
things we think about. Really.
Anne: 27:20 It reverberates, right?
So, hey, so if you want to give your child the right start? Let’s start at
birth. Let’s start at birth.
Thea: 27:33 Yeah, let’s start at
birth. Thanks. Great. Talk to you later.
Anne: 27:38 See you later. Okay. Let
me end this again.
We can find play––and joy––in work. And the chores we give our children can develop a capacity to approach work with the fullness of being.
Anne: 00:00 Okay. All right. Here we
are. Take 17.
Thea: 00:06 Hi, Anne!
Anne: 00:09 Hi, Thea. Okay. So if I
can just get my words together. So we’re going to talk today, a kind of
continuation on last week’s where we were talking about the importance of children’s
chores––and how necessary it is for children to participate in the family’s
survival, operation and more and how that very much aids in their development,
their sense of purpose self-esteem and wards off feelings of depression and
angst. So, so we decided, you know, it was not a really long conversation and
we thought we would continue on with maybe identifying some concrete examples
of the types of chores and tasks that we can assign to our children, but
Thea: 01:09 Sorry, I need to just
speak to my child…
Anne: 01:10 Okay. Let me, let me
pause it for one second.
Thea: 01:14 Okay. Sorry. All right.
Please don’t eat that, which is dinner right there…
Anne: 01:21 Okay. So we’re recording
again. So part of what we hit on was the fact that it seems, and from our
perspective perhaps as women, but it seems that the world that we live in, the
modern world here in the States––I live in the suburbs, you live in a small
city––does not provide as many natural opportunities and tasks for masculine
activities. In the same way it does female activities. And by that we’re
talking about, you know, the difference in––certainly between people and
different temperaments, but also between girls and boys. Girls, you know, the
type of household chores we have all the time. There’s never, never in short
supply––doing the dishes, sweeping the floor, vacuuming, tidying, making things
pretty. Even some of the yard work seems to resonate perhaps, maybe more with
my daughter than it does my son. And when I was stretching to figure out, well,
what is it that, that my son really resonates with? It’s chopping wood. It’s,
it’s getting the firewood to build, building a fire. Though my daughter is
pretty pro at that too. It’s, it’s digging. I remember, you know, how he really
got into helping my husband taking apart the deck to then repurpose the wood.
And fixing things. And it then led me to thinking about, well this house that
we built in our backyard, I wrote about this in an article I just wrote about
for his third grade year, Waldorf curriculum is building your own shelter. And
we built a six by six by six by six foot A-frame wooden house in our backyard.
Anne: 03:37 Something I never
imagined I had the capacity to do, and we did it mainly without power tools except
when we really needed my husband’s help here and there. Right? And that was
extraordinary. And so one of the things I wanted to, to share was this book, a
couple of these books that the Christopherus Curriculum––Donna Simmons writes,
does this extraordinary curriculum, Waldorf curriculum that’s designed for
homeschoolers, multi-age homeschoolers. And she had recommended Lester Walker’s
Housebuilding for Children, written
in like 1977 or something. And Lester Walker’s Carpentry for Children, you know, it was around the same era. And
we followed these his plans in here. And I mean, this is, you know, that’s the
house we basically, we built and it just, it goes through showing, you know,
building the walls putting the roof in.
Anne: 04:47 And there’s so much,
obviously that’s incorporated into that, you know, just from a homeschooler’s
perspective––algebra, geometry and more. Right? But anyways, so we had wanted
to come up with a prescription for the boys more specifically because it didn’t
seem as apparent in this, in this urbanized world that we’re living in. And I
thought back to another project that my son had done with my husband, which was
a bookshelf. I needed a bookshelf, and I needed one fast. And I’m particular
about what will fit in the house. Not that my taste is so high end, but it’s
just, you know, I just needed a, a particular kind of height and a compactness
for the space. And they took these two old dressers, wooden dressers, and
repurposed them and reconfigured them and then built some shelves into it and
built a bookshelf. And how wonderful that is. I mean, I walk by it every day,
several times a day. My son sees this useful manifestation of his creative
Thea: 06:07 Will forces.
Anne: 06:10 Yeah. And that I needed,
that he provided. And so that was the suggestion I wanted to give anyone
listening and who’s been thinking about this themselves. You know, no matter
how small an apartment one has, how no or little yard or back deck, patio or
whatever someone has, you can build a bookshelf. You can build a small
bookshelf in that. You can build a small table, you can build a spice rack, you
can build a cabinet and that is so terribly satisfying, and there’s so much
learning going on in so many levels when that’s happening. But I think that
that, that kind of task is something that is important to give to your son. Or
daughter. I mean, I am so pleased that I, know the basics of building a house
now from building this house. I feel so competent. I do as a almost 49 year old
having learned this just a couple of years ago. And this is following on our
father who was not so inclined that way. And you know, I mean his version of a
shed, I mean, we loved him so dearly and he was so great at so many things, but
Thea: 07:41 But he did make the
Anne: 07:44 Well, he made the effort,
which may not have been the greatest example because his version of the shed, I
don’t know if you remember, but was like basically buying a few pieces of
plywood and leaning it kind of up against the back wall of the garage, nailing
it together and slapping some paint on it. It was a shelter, but I think that
kind of thing was left with me and I probably didn’t feel all that competent in
my abilities to do something as well as we did these couple years ago with just
some good plans. Right? So I highly recommend Lester Walker’s books. Again, Carpentry
for Children, Housebuilding for Children,
they’re used books. I can’t find books like this anymore. This, this was
written back in the 70s when kids had more time. And time to fill up with
purposeful activities like this.
Thea: 08:54 With their own problem
solving and skill building, yeah. So with those ideas, I think we can also just
weave into that cause I think there’s a lot of room for those sort of projects
if we are willing to take the time to fill out the little spaces in our life
where it might be a different habit than what would be convenient to get this
thing that you need for something, but to them slow down and allow an
opportunity for your child or children to make that which you need out of maybe
something you already have around or you know, repurposed things or getting the
materials. So it’s just a slower pace to give those opportunities to our
children, I think. Is another window to look through regarding that topic.
Anne: 09:49 Yeah. I absolutely agree,
which makes me of course, think about even the slower pace of growing our own
food. Right? Whether you’re doing it in a window box garden or a small garden
bed or a community garden or your own backyard, that has been infinitely rewarding
for me in understanding many layers I think of just even this existence and
making connections. I mean, it strikes me that now that we don’t have a lot of
people growing their own food and I know there’s a movement back towards that,
but we lose touch with just the process and just the process of life and the
miracle of life. Just the fact of taking the seed and planting it in the ground
and watering it and with the sun and the nutrients in the soil.
Thea: 10:59 And caring for it,
nurturing it too, or allowing it to have its time to do its own. I mean all the
analogies for life are in…Isn’t that Thoreau? The seed? What is the quote? I
can’t think of…whatever. Life, eternity in a… I’m mixing things up.
Anne: 11:26 But yes, that is. I mean,
the miracle of life. I mean, it’s occurred to me, it’s not just that, but
health and wellness. You know, a farmer understands that the soil is critical
to the health of the plant and that without amending the soil and nourishing
the soil over and over again, there’s nothing for that plant. No matter what
you do to it, it’s not going to thrive. And so, you know, so gardening alone,
yes, brings so many understandings essential understandings back to us, right?
A spice garden even, right? Just a tiny little one. Yeah. Or like you said, or
the process of building the small table, a small bookshelf. To know what goes
into that Is, you know, all, all that is of value in that is hard to even put
in a language. And you know, when we’re so used to a world where you can get
online and order it with a button now and it’s delivered to your door in two
Thea: 12:43 Well there’s something
too, just that picture of taking, you know, what’s in your hand and scanning
over it. Like you run by it and you don’t really notice it. And then when we
slow down a little bit and we stand in that space of––what’s in your hand and
you just start to see all that it is, where did the wood that you’re using
grow, what was the, you know, what was the journey of that which you’re holding
to become that which you’re holding? And that’s, you know, that’s not so much
the pace of the world around us. So it’s the real choice to come into that, to
slow down, to have appreciation for that, the becoming of each thing that has
become, or is becoming.
Anne: 13:35 Absolutely. if we don’t
stay in touch with that, we lose touch with everything. I mean, as you’re, as
you’re talking, I kind of feel like maybe all this seems like a given
intellectually, but I can attest to having been transformed by putting it into
practice. You know, I grew up very heady and abstract, you know, and unlike
you, I didn’t, I never knitted or cared at all to do macrame or handwork or
crochet, or anything like that.
Thea: 14:13 I remember. I know. I’ve
watched you go through all of these things.
New Speaker: 14:19 And I was forced to by my
own choice to homeschool my children using a Waldorf curriculum, which appealed
to me for a variety of reasons that resonated very deeply in me, but you know,
all of that I kind of dreaded really. And as I have come to each one of those
subjects or new learnings, it’s been remarkable how, I mean, I say this, I
can’t say it enough. It’s like exponentially transformed me. It has––my spirit,
my being, my senses, my awarenesses, my connections have woken up like
exponentially, right? Just in knitting, learning to knit. And understanding
what goes into then everything that I have that’s knit/knitted. Understanding,
as basic as this sounds, but I mean, making yarn, you know, learning to make
yarn, the wool that comes from the sheep and beyond, beyond, beyond. Right? But
we’re such a society and culture here of immediate ready-made consumption that,
you know, the true prescription, I think for reconnection fulfillment, reward
that is all here in front of us to appreciate is to get back down to those
basics. And not just for a weekend camping, but to start to incorporate that
into our lives and recognize how critical that is in order to keep us whole.
Thea: 16:21 And tethered to that
force of creation, really. To not be adrift and lost in the darkness.
Anne: 16:31 Yes, yes. Especially for
those times of challenge and struggle. Yeah, that aids me, that has aided me in
how I have gotten through challenging times in my life, having gone back to
those basics and exercised so much more of me, myself. It’s all very hard to
quantify and talk about. It’s not tangible. Right?
Thea: 17:00 I don’t know. I mean, I
wonder about the tangibility, but I think it’s also, there’s something in there
that is the reminder that we are creators ourselves and so that is remembered
and recalled and exercised––it is then recognized through all of the weavings
of what’s around us.
Anne: 17:25 When it’s exercised on a
daily basis. Right? And so, so that brings us back to this with the children’s
chores and children’s work and children’s tasks. Our own chores and tasks, our
own, as you brought up in the last one, cooking our own food and not going and
buying it made or made and ready to heat up. There is so much that we have lost
in embracing that sort of convenience.
Thea: 18:00 Yeah. I mean it goes into
every facet, really, of what’s necessary for us to live. You know, we think about
the way we’ve––I mean this could be a quite the discussion just going from
being such community people, you know, where you washed the clothes at the
creek or where you, you know, harvest the food or the water, all of these
things that our culture is so removed from. And I think what part of that has
done––and we were touching upon this for a moment before we started this
conversation––those things that are, and there is, there can be drudgery in
those monotonous necessities. We know this. And there can also be a lot of joy
and camaraderie and space to daydream, space to create ideas. And I think that
in that there’s somewhere that the joy of work and that work is play in a
certain way that those are two sides of the same coin I think essentially. But
we have pretty successfully in our culture seemed to separate them in so many
views when I look. That work is something separate than play, and work is to be
something that we minimize and want less of so that we can have our relaxation
or recreation. But really, if we have the time to come into our work in such a
way with our fullness of being, there’s joy there. And within that comes that
element of play, which is what allows us to be human, really, and to relate to
others. I mean, you know, I work, I work five days a week outside of my home
and so I, every week I sort of think, gosh, there would be a better rhythm if I
didn’t have to go out to work five days a week, but did four, so that when I’m
doing my home work, my housework, I have the space and time to fill that
capacity with more joy. To do these tasks with more joy because there’s a
little more time to fill them out.
Anne: 20:40 There’s more room, right?
Thea: 20:41 More room, because you
know everything is about balance. I love my work that I go to, but I need to
balance that with the work that’s essential for just maintenance of life. And
it’s always trying to find how to live into the, the work of life with joy, you
know? And so that’s what we want to be able to give our children experiences
of. That work can be joyful, playful, all of those things. We want them to
exercise it and create avenues for those experiences to be there for them to
step into those capacities as they come into different challenges and
workspaces of life.
Anne: 21:24 Yes. And to have that
experience that even in a a task that might seem even drudgery there is in that
there is discovery to be had. So to have the experience of discovery, which
becomes joyful and leads to the next. And so it keeps us always sparked. It can
help keep us sparked, inspired and interested in just everyday living, if we’re
allowed to see it through that way. Right? And merge, as you’re saying––and I’d
like to discuss, maybe examine this more in the next one, but––work and play as
you said, it’s kind of two sides to the same coin. Rather than being so
separate, where one is resisted and the other so indulged in.
Thea: 22:19 And then the other thing
I had the thought to share, you know, especially for our children and these
ideas, if people are working to exercise to find new spaces to give their
children these experiences or spaces for these experiences or activities.
They’re not always going to be like, “Sweet, thanks!” You know,
that’s our job just to hold the line and continue to invite someone to pick up
this new way of being. This new way to find meaning and purpose in what is
needed in a house.
Anne: 23:08 Yeah. And what I will
say, and I, I don’t know how much time, I think we’re pretty far over. I didn’t
watch when we started. But a key I think to it is doing it a little bit
alongside at first. That really gets a momentum going and then you can kind of
leave them to go at it once they’re engaged and involved, so.
Thea: 23:30 So there’s more to
discuss here. I mean, it’s a pretty broad and deep idea, I think, that
continues to deepen the further we follow it and its ramifications. What we see
in the world and what we’re looking to see developed more of. So thank you,
Anne: 23:55 Thank you. All right,
well ’til next time. Hang on a second.
When children are responsible for essential family chores and necessary home and yard maintenance, they maintain a critical focus on their contribution and significance to the whole––and a general sense of purpose which is a necessary antidote to feelings of angst and depression.
Anne: 00:01 Hello, Thea.
Thea: 00:04 Hello, Anne.
Anne: 00:06 So today, let’s talk about being purposeful. It follows a little bit on our last conversation about even what makes us feel attractive or what makes us attracted to someone else. And purposefulness was a large part of that. And it also relates to a lot of other things we’ve been observing through our work and experience in life, parenting. We’ve been observing an alarming rate of depression and anxiety, lack of focus in children, in extraordinarily young children who you wouldn’t be expecting that of quite yet––in those typical like angsty teenage years. When children much younger than that are demonstrating symptoms and signs of depression, we need to explore that and address that in a way that we haven’t been doing obviously very successfully in this culture. Right? And you identified the lack, it seems, at least in the communities that we are surrounded by. Granted it’s coastal California. There’s a privilege of wealth in the areas that we live in. So I think that clouds or colors the landscape. But we’re noticing that children are not given, they’re not used to a lot of the similar day to day chores, meaningful, purposeful, necessary tasks that we grew up with. Right?
Thea: 02:10 Right. And actually, and
this might be a quick segue, but it’s something else that just popped into my
head a little bit. Because as you were talking about that I was picturing our
childhood, and while we had work, household work, I feel like, so a lot of our
work actually was taken into sport quite young and a lot of our time was put
there. And so that’s another coloring of this conversation, I think of the, the
hijacking of meaningful work. Now that’s not me saying sport is bad, but
there’s a lack of balance. And that ties into earlier conversations we’ve had where
we talked about the difference of sport and play a little bit. And then when
that play is hijacked right into sport, some other development doesn’t occur.
And then the sport takes on a deeper meaning then truly it should have. And
sense of self worth––as you were speaking about those stages of depression that
come earlier and earlier and then when there’s a little bit more of that nuance
of the angsty years where young people are learning how to deal with all of
these senses of being, these powers and forces of becoming a young adult, when
those don’t have a channel to be directed toward, they become self destructive
and socially destructive forces, you know, in their circles of friends. And so
that ties into, when there’s not the sense of meaningful capable purpose and
work and the capacity to meet those things, we get depressed. People get
depressed, and they can become ugly and lash out at others when they’re feeling
small themselves. Right?
Anne: 04:11 Yeah. You’re sparking
some thoughts in me, ’cause we hadn’t even talked about this in tying in the
sports, but it hadn’t even occurred to me. Yes. You know, I’m always saying,
“Oh, back in our day, back in our day when I had to wash the dishes every
day and clean up or shovel the snow or mow the lawn” or all of those
things that I don’t see a lot of kids doing these days––we also though, what I
should say for anyone viewing is that, we were a big tennis family, so we all
played tennis. It was a bit fanatical. We attribute our parents’ divorce to
tennis. And it became our job. And I, and I’m now kind of remembering, I’m
thinking back to the fact that, so our father, a second generation
immigrant––athletics and sports was very important to them. I think because of
the discipline that it practiced, and obviously, there’s a joy and a pleasure
in aspiring and honing that excellence that was manifest––like our uncle who
was drafted by the Bulls. Right? But they had a balance back then. They
certainly didn’t live in this age of technology and hyper developed world and
structure, which scheduled kids almost every minute of their day. So that, that
sport and that discipline and that activity, that was a respite from some of
the chores and hardships, necessary hardships of everyday life. Right? And so
then they––our baby boomer parents––brought that to our generation.
“Sports! It’s toward scholarships. It develops, you know, rounds you out,
keeps you fit. Good values, psychological discipline and all.” Which I
admit it gave me, I think it helped me with. And opened up opportunities for
me. But that was even too emphasized probably back then, you know, amidst also
all of the dance classes and music lessons and voice lessons and, tutoring and
school and….And, and, and, and.
Anne: 07:10 And I remember now that I
think about it feeling––I mean it kind of cultivates a bit of a narcissism too.
It’s just, sure, Oh, you know, yes, lifting our children up is something we
want to do but not in such an extreme way which puts all the focus of the
family on them and how well they do in their match. Pulling me out of school
for tennis lessons. Or I remember I am sure you remember well, yeah, I can say
this now, I remember getting into a car accident and I won’t give all the
details, but it was a really not a great situation for many reasons, but it was
right in the middle of an important tournament, which I was doing well in and I
didn’t really have any concern that there would be a problem about it because
that was paramount. I was doing well in the tennis tournament and all that
other stuff got it washed away. So I really just digressed there, but it does
make me realize that it’s not just our generation, it’s, it’s what’s built on
the other generation from what they took from their generation. And it’s gotten
Thea: 08:40 Completely. And it seems
that, I mean, and maybe it’s just in the circles I’m living in, that there is,
a slow, steady waking up to the lack of balance in that scenario. That this
idea, “That’s how my kid’s going to go to college,” is, you know, maybe
that works for some people that they start this sport, they pursue it, they get
a scholarship. Maybe those children actually continue playing or participating
in whatever that sport is. More often than not, those children are burnt out by
age 14. Right when it would be a good time for them to be picking up that
sport, because they started so young. And then they quit, and that’s the moment
they need that channel and that focus to hone. But people are realizing it’s
not so successful. I mean college, that’s a whole other conversation about the
distortion of all of that and…
Anne: 09:44 Of the importance, the
importance of college now, or the relevance of college in this rapidly changing
world, given how much it costs, it’s no longer the answer, right? To the
predictable paths of adulthood and profession.
Thea: 10:03 Right. I mean because
young people come into the world with $50,000 of debt. Or more.
Anne: 10:08 50? 200! Yeah, exactly.
So yes, I agree. And you in your Waldorf circle are more in touch with a lot of
folks that are aware of that. And, so shifting course, reversing course,
embracing a new course that hopefully rounds that impulse in our world out. And
me having come to Waldorf as well, as a homeschooler, differently I recognize
that too, recognize that more given my own experience. I mean, I was adamant
about not letting my kid join sports teams or get involved in any outside,
those types of extracurricular classes, whatever––structured, formalized
organized sports, dance, all of that––too early because we did it so young that
I burnt out by the time I really could have used it much more significantly at
the time in my life, you know? So, yeah. You know, I mean it’s not just Waldorf
education, it’s, it’s all of the alternative pedagogies. It’s also the increasing
understanding and study into the importance of play in education. And how far
we’ve gone away from that and how we’re trying to move back there slowly,
Thea: 11:55 Well, how much is really
happening when we play as children and, and how much is stolen from the
development of the human being when those opportunities are lost, or robbed
essentially of that time.
Anne: 12:11 Yeah, short shortchanged,
Thea: 12:12 So then, I don’t know if
this is too much, but then ’cause what had inspired this conversation was
really––so play is purposeful work at certain stages of the development of the
child and the human being, really. And then and then we’re talking about what
other purposeful work is there. And we do recognize we’re in one little bubble
of a view into the world in coastal California. But you know, where we grew up,
we did, we have to shovel the walk or shovel the driveway or whatever. You
know, picking up sticks, I remember, just before mowing the lawn or whatever,
all these things, which mowing the lawn, I didn’t go there, but raking leaves
also. But––So what do these young people have today? And I was sharing that and
it’s not quite formed yet still, so maybe something will get clearer––I feel
like as a female, and maybe it’s simply because I am one––that there are still
more tasks, household tasks that bring me a sense of real satisfaction. Because
I, I enjoy the homemaking. I don’t see my sons enjoy homemaking quite as much
as I do or even did as a young person.
Anne: 13:35 Yeah, I have a girl and a
boy. And the difference is so marked in terms of how they come to it or resist
it. You know, so yes, go ahead.
Thea: 13:51 So, so just thinking––and
I know the way my life is, I don’t have opportunities for my kids. I’m not
living on a farm, so I don’t have this like more physical work accessible to
them. So it’s a real task as a parent in a place where I live to find this. And
that’s what sport kind of gives an echo of, right? Of meaningful work in our
culture. But outside of that, what work do they get to do that we can’t live
without? What do they get to participate in that helps the family, that is
essential, maybe, hopefully, kind of boring so that they have the time and
space to develop a rich interior world.
Anne: 14:36 Or not boring, but monotonous,
perhaps. And you just made me realize city living is emasculating.
Thea: 14:54 Totally! So that’s what
we’re talking about today. Get to the country.
Anne: 15:00 But there’s quite a push
toward the city living and we could go down a lot of rabbit holes there. So
what do we do? What’s, what is the prescription? Okay. I mean, let’s first
identify the fact that we had also talked about this a little bit too, you
know, as a homeschooler and someone actively involved in my homeschool group I
recognize that boys earlier on are the ones who come to us and then the girls a
bit later, because school is not really suited or designed for a boy.
Thea: 15:44 The energy that is moving
and coursing through the boy. And sometimes the girls. I was kind of one of
those girls in a way too. Like needed to move a lot.
Anne: 15:54 Yeah. You, you are.
Right. Movement teacher and spacial dynamics person that you are––yoga and
dance and…so yes, so school with its abstract, very sitting still,
obedient––however way you cut it there’s an element of people pleasing
obedience because of that framework of school, no matter how great the school
is. It’s not that suited for boys. And increasingly with the, what? 20 minutes
of recess and all of that, it’s so much less. So we need to recognize that. And
in small steps individually, now, what we need to recognize is that for a boy
to become a man, he needs to be able to do traditionally male things. And I
don’t care who I offend saying that! I mean, there is a relevance to the
traditional roles, or the traditional paths.
Thea: 17:05 I mean, I think you could
easily say the more masculine activities without it being offensive, because I
know for me––and I get to watch at school, so at recess, which we have more
than 20 minutes, all in all, we have like an hour, a day of recess. But that’s
not the only movement our kids get. But I see, so let’s take third grade,
fourth grade, second grade, the boys, they’re building, they’re finding wood
and they’re building shelters. That’s their recess. Most often. The girls are
now residing in the shelter, and they’re organizing it and they’re bringing
little plants and making it lovely and sweet. And then the boys want to come in
the house and the girls are like, “No, you mess it up.” And they’re
like, “You can be the dog sleeping by the fire.” This is something
that really happened and it’s, and it’s so perfect. “You Have too much
energy. Unless you’re a resting, boy, you’re not in my house right now.”
Anne: 18:17 Right! And she’s calling
the shots. I mean, it’s certainly no diminishment of the female role in her
realm, in our realm, right?
Thea: 18:25 And there is a really natural acknowledgement. I mean, and there are some girls that are doing the building, not to say there aren’t, and I’m trying to think of any boys in the house. I can’t think of any right now, you know, currently. But, and I remember being that as, as a kid, even when we played in our, on our street, which wasn’t quite a neighborhood, but it was just a little more country and one of our sisters was much more into, “I’ll build this.” And I was definitely more in, “And I’ll make it pretty!” You know? “I’ll do that part.” So different needs in there to be satisfied.
Anne: 19:10 Yeah. While I managed it.
Thea: 19:14 Precisely!
Anne: 19:18 Or not. So, okay, so
we’re at 20 minutes. We’ve identified some stuff. Let’s, let’s, let’s come up
with a bit of a prescription for a couple of minutes.
Thea: 19:30 I don’t know if this is a
prescription, so my apologies again if it’s not that. But I think one of the
other threads I just don’t want to forget was really the question of how is
time spent? That portion of what makes things purposeful in our life. That is
so out of balance. You know, our lives are out of balance and so what––it is!
It’s prescription! Look at that. Boom! So it comes in as to these little
moments that we get to choose. Do we make this work to survive meaningful? And
do we get to put some of our creative forces towards that meaningful work? And
that’s simply…food preparation. Do we buy prepackaged things or do we cook?
Do we take the time to cook real food? Do we, you know self care products? Do
we buy our oils for our face or our creams, or do we make them? And do our
children get to be a part of those things––that we then take the time to make
Anne: 20:35 Okay. Absolutely. But
what I’ll say is that doesn’t address the boys as much as I think we’d like to.
So how about this? I was telling you that we––my husband mainly––chopped a huge
tree down in our backyard. Right? And interestingly different people that we
were talking about doing this before–– he was trying to get some advice or just
discussing––couldn’t quite conceive that he wouldn’t hire that work out. Right?
And he ended up doing it and he, it was a challenge. Because it’s a very big
tree and it wasn’t too far from our house. And you know, it was like climbing,
cutting a few branches here and there so he could still have a ladder to climb
on, with the chainsaw, but didn’t want to use the chainsaw really that high up
in case it slips. So using, you know, a manual saw. And then it ended with the
family with the rope all pulling it down after he had gotten it short enough,
it wasn’t going to ruin our house. “Timber!” Right? And then the kids
helping chop, stack wood. Right? My daughter my son definitely, he thrived in
that. Right? My daughter helped as well. But you know, we have different
interests, you know, that that was I think more satisfying perhaps to, to my
son. So what about just making conscious choices as, as ludicrously privileged
as this sounds? So I, it’s grossing me out to even say this, but you know,
things that we would normally hire someone else to do for us that we’ve never
done before that do fall under that realm of like building and physical
Thea: 22:33 And fixing and taking
apart and putting back together.
Anne: 22:36 Fixing the toilet fixing
the faucet. Painting the front door. The fence. Tom Sawyer. Huck Finn. What
about making small conscious choices, even though it’s not as efficient,
perhaps, maybe you can justify the money because of the time it’s going to
save, you don’t have to manage your kid, all of that. Let’s start giving our
kids more of those meaningful tasks to do. And see what happens and what comes
from that. Yes?
Thea: 23:15 That’s an idea. I mean,
because we want to be able to help our children and help ourselves become more
capable to meet what comes, whatever that is. So we need the opportunities to,
to fail, you know, to, to practice the things that we’re doing. And build the
Anne: 23:35 We also need to
recognize, I mean, I, I’ve heard this argument before that, “Well, you
know, the world is turning, you know, basically everyone’s becoming
coders,” right? I mean, “the world’s all computerized, technology
robotics. Why fight it you know, if you’re going to succeed, I mean, put your
energies there.” Well, I don’t think that that is a healthy approach to
helping children develop. I don’t think that we should reject that awareness of
where the world is and exposure to that at the appropriate times and
cultivating those skills. But if we just move in that direction only and put
all of our efforts in that abstract video game, whatever, learning we are
certainly very weakened. Another aspect of us is weakened. And if that whole
framework isn’t there suddenly or wherever you go in the world or whatever, you
know, your competence is greatly compromised. So let’s work toward, no matter
where we think the world is going, still exercising all aspects of our human
beingness––physical and mental, emotional and spiritual. So you know that,
that’s the general prescription. Let’s determine to make this, continue this,
the next one. Part two of it.
Thea: 25:14 Yeah. There’s more
avenues to go down. We’re just getting it started. So thanks for touching in.
It’s just something that’s been on my mind, definitely lately. And looking
around. So thanks.
Anne: 25:26 Yep. You too.
Thea: 25:28 Have a good one.
Anne: 25:29 You too. Hold on and let
me figure out how to press these buttons. Let’s see. Stop.
I help run our county’s homeschool group, and I field new member requests. Parents come to us for myriad reasons. They’ve always been curious about homeschooling, but don’t feel confident enough in their teaching abilities to educate their children. Their son or daughter is being bullied at school. Their child is bored, doesn’t seem to fit, isn’t succeeding in the conventional school system. They notice a marked difference between their child’s confidence and happiness during the summer and the school year––some children plead with their parents to let them stay home from day to day. Children who have heard of homeschooling beg their parents to let them try it.
I often speak with these parents on the phone or invite them to attend new member park days where they have a chance to speak with seasoned homeschooling parents. We explain all the avenues and how much easier it is to do than they’ve imagined. As Rahima Baldwin Dancy puts it in the title of her book–– You Are Your Child’s First Teacher. And therefore, you are certainly equipped to teach your child.
The US didn’t even make it into the top 20 countries in math, reading and science PISA rankings, and I live in California, which ranks 37th in primary education scores among the states. So, one of the first things I point out to parents intimidated by the seemingly daunting responsibility of teaching their children: You really can’t do much worse than the education system is already doing, so take the pressure off yourself to begin with. Second, you’ll almost certainly do a far better job of helping your children hold onto their curiosity, develop their critical thinking skills, get more sleep, feel less stressed and actually enjoy learning. Third, in this Age of Information, every type of curriculum imaginable is available to assist our efforts. You do not have to hold a degree in mathematics in order to teach your children about long division, algebra, geometry and the like. Just as teachers in the conventional school system are provided with teaching guides and answer keys, so will you be. In addition, “out-of-school” learning programs and enrichment classes are increasingly available to homeschoolers who want to supplement their own teaching. And finally, human beings are natural learners, provided we don’t mess that extraordinary capacity up!
As teacher, author and speaker John Taylor Gatto articulated in his New York Teacher of the Year Award acceptance speech, ”How will they learn to read?’ you say, and my answer is ‘Remember the lessons of Massachusetts.’ When children are given whole lives instead of age-graded ones in cellblocks––they learn to read, write, and do arithmetic with ease if those things make sense in the kind of life that unfolds around them.”
I highly recommend any of John Taylor Gatto’s books or videos in which he explains the contradictions between learning and our educational system, and where he lays out the history of compulsory schooling here in the US––which is based on the Prussian model of education in which the goal was obedience and compliance––and what he identified as the “6 Secret Lessons Taught in School“:
Confusion and Fragmentation
Emotional and Intellectual Dependency
Surveillance and Denial of Privacy
Even in well intended, alternative, progressive schools, our primary educational system cannot provide children as rich a learning environment as they can find outside it. Homeschooled children are regularly involved in the world among folks of different ages and generations, encountering the infinite puzzles, problems and opportunities they find in day-to-day living––with the freedom to pursue and build upon their individual interests and passions. The classroom is a contrivance––an artificial, abstract environment which does not resemble the actual world we live in, and which demands children learn designated material at a designated time in a designated time frame in a designated manner.
A theme throughout Gatto’s books and lectures is that children learn easily when they are engaged and interested––and that they/we can learn in weeks what schools take months or years to teach. Timing also plays a huge role in how well children learn. I use a Waldorf curriculum to homeschool my children, and Waldorf education recognizes that sooner is not always better. This excellent article “First Grade Readiness” by Waldorf teacher and curriculum author Donna Simmons demonstrates this point. Her Christopherus Homeschool curriculum has been a joy to use, and her website has been a wealth of resource for us.
I was raised by liberal academics. My mother had a Masters in Education, and my father’s PhD was in the Philosophy of Education. They were both very heady individuals, and my feminist mother deliberately did not teach my sisters and me how to sew, knit, cook––or any of those traditional female skills, as I suppose she and my father felt they were liberating us from what they perceived could be a prison. If we didn’t even know how to do it, there’s no way we’d be “relegated” to housewives. And they sent each of us to a Montessori school until age 11, a pedagogy with a heavy emphasis on math, science and language, and very little on art, handwork or music.
Art, music, handwork, nature, baking, dance, story telling and more are incorporated very holistically into Waldorf education, so you can imagine what a learning curve it was for me to adopt such a curriculum to homeschool my children. And what a joy it has been! What a journey of personal development it has been! And how fun it has been to learn alongside my children in so many ways! When I am learning something, I am curious about it, excited about it, and that translates to the excitement I have in introducing these concepts to my children as well.
This week, we’ve been reading the epic tale The Mahabharata for my son’s 5th grade Ancient India block, and last year, I re-familiarized myself with pre-algebra to keep up with his math progress. Whether it’s history, mathematical concepts, music, literature or anything else, I am confident that I can learn as well as my kids can, and that while I add another skill set or subject to my repertoire, I can help my kids learn it, too. It enriches our lives, and it makes the whole experience of education and learning fun when the whole family is involved. It also keeps us all very connected to each other and with what’s going on in each other’s lives.
Some folks are intimidated by the time and energy commitment of homeschooling. As my good friend and prominent homeschool advocate Julie Schiffman points out, “When people say to me that they could never homeschool because it’s ‘too much work,’ I respond with, ‘Do you realize how much work it takes to have a kid in school?'” Between shuttling one’s kids to and from school, packing lunches, managing homework, extra-curricular involvement and increasing requirements for parent volunteerism at the schools, homeschooling feels like less of a time commitment than what most schools require from the family.
And then there’s the oft repeated concern and question, “What about socialization?” Once you start homeschooling, you begin to realize what a non-concern that is. Homeschooled kids are out in the world all the time––interacting with people of all ages, professions and ethnicities. My kids have friends from age 8 to 80, and they regularly run into them at the market, the library and other places in town, often introducing me to folks they know through the open mic or chess club they attend regularly with my husband. My 8 year old daughter has tea dates with some teenage girls she’s friends with. When the kids get together with similarly aged homeschool friends (which is usually several times a week), they spend hours playing and talking, getting deeply immersed and involved in whatever it is they’re doing. My homeschool parent friends and I regularly discuss having to consciously make a point of saying “no” to some of the social events and get togethers in order to have enough time at home for homeschooling and day-to-day tasks. They are definitely not wanting for socialization.
And finally, what about the data on homeschooling outcomes? Homeschooling as an increasingly popular education option has been in place in the US and Canada for long enough to substantially measure the outcomes and get a fairly comprehensive picture of how homeschooled children have fared into adulthood. Homeschooled children score above average on achievement tests, SATs and ACTs and are increasingly being recruited by colleges.
I’m the oldest of four girls, and after my youngest sister was born, my parents decided to save some money for the year my mother took off from work to stay home with her, pull us out of the private Montessori school we were attending, and homeschool us for a year. There had also been some staffing issues at the school––the teacher in the 9-12 age class that I was in had been replaced by a non-Montessori trained teacher at the time, and my education seemed to be suffering as a result. I had been having difficulties grasping concepts like long division and other subjects that were being introduced to me that year.
So, my parents bought a TRS-80 computer, some other materials and workbooks, and they set up our family room to be the “school room.” My mom was understandably pretty consumed with the new baby, and we spent a lot of that year just playing. I remember kind of secretly feeling guilty that we were “getting away with it,” because we spent so little time on “school work” and so much time playing out in the backyard, the creek, creating Fisher Price villages out on the back porch, designing basic programs on our new computer. My mom made sure we did some school work every day, but it seemed trivial in comparison to what felt like a year-long summer.
And then something funny happened. When my mom went back to work the following year, and we re-enrolled in school, I was no longer struggling at school. I had easily caught up on all the things I had been “behind” in––long division was suddenly a cinch. And I hadn’t even noticed that I had been learning it so easily and efficiently. Ever since, I have always known that if I had children, my first choice would be to homeschool them if at all possible.
Neither of my kids have attended regular school. I have an 11 year old son and an 8 year old daughter who are both curious, avid learners who excel academically, are engaged in their community, and pursue any number of myriad interests and passions including chess, dance, basketball, songwriting, beatboxing, poetry, reading, writing, gymnastics, playing and talking on the phone with their friends. They are generally kind and earnest in their interactions with others, and adults in their lives often remark to my husband and me how “well-behaved” they are. Of course, they don’t see them at home:) But this is a common theme among homeschoolers. Our theory is that because they aren’t cooped up in a classroom all day, they don’t feel the same need to let off steam and “goof off” as much while out at the store, at sport practice, at dance class.
Homeschooled children have more time––to think, to wonder, to sit, to be, to sleep, to breathe. We live in a hectic world, and children are very scheduled. As my kids have gotten older and gotten more involved in extra-curricular classes, teams and hobbies, it strikes me that the only way it’s been manageable is because they have so much breathing room during the day. And the family still has plenty of time together to share meals, have conversations, get chores done, and more. We’ve still managed to maintain what feels like a civilized pace and schedule, even with increasing outside activity involvement.
I enjoy spending time with my kids, learning with them, learning from them, watching them unfold. Parenting is flying by, and in a few years, I’m sure I’ll see less and less of them, as they become more independent, autonomous and more interested in their friends, dating, and outside pursuits. And then eventually, God willing, they’ll leave home to start their own separate journeys. With the state of things as it is in the conventional school system, and with homeschooling’s proven success––why wouldn’t we homeschool?
What makes us attractive––to ourselves and to others? And what happens when we cover up all the mirrors in our house for a week? (But leave one uncovered for the cat, because that’s just too fun to watch:))
Anne: 00:01 Hi, Thea.
Thea: 00:02 Hi Anne.
Anne: 00:05 So this evening, we are
going to follow on last weeks. We were talking about image versus essence. We
were talking about this trend toward cosmetic enhancement and what seems to be
an overemphasis and an inordinate value placed on appearance of youth
specifically versus, you know, our natural physical aging and all the good
stuff that comes with that, which is wisdom, experience, I think authority.
Thea: 00:44 And ease. I would throw
ease in there.
Anne: 00:47 And ease. And confidence.
Definitely ease in our being. We’ve been here for more times around the sun and
the more we’ve done it, the more comfortable we are in encountering challenges,
obstacles, and all of those things that life presents. Right? So that’s a lot
to embrace. And, and so we had had a lot of conversations afterward with
friends and folks who had watched it and weighed in. And my friend Tina, for
example wanted to make the point that it’s not so much for her about what
others think of us, what, how others perceive us––but how she looks in the
mirror matters to her, she feels. How she looks to herself helps her feel one
way or another about herself, comfort in her own skin or not. And that led to a
discussion we want to have. You’d mentioned this last time. What, what makes us
feel attractive, right?
Thea: 02:04 And what do we find
attractive? And where does that stem from? How do we cultivate it? Because we
all like feeling attractive and we all like to be attracted too or from.
Anne: 02:18 Yes, yes, yes. We like to
try attractive and attracted. Yes, indeed. So what makes you feel most
Thea: 02:35 So what does make me feel
attractive, and what makes you feel attractive? Feeling energetic, feeling
vital, feeling a sense of power and a sense of ease. I think those are two
things that I feel good in myself when I feel those things. I mean, the very
clear distinction would be if I’m ill, we don’t feel attractive, right? So when
we’re feeling alive to the world and that comes in different capacities and
through different channels at different times. Sometimes it’s––feeling a real
strong sense of purpose gives me a sense of vitality and powerfulness and
capacity I think.
Anne: 03:33 Ah, yes. Yes. Well
capableness, even. Right?
Thea: 03:38 Yeah. Yeah. Feeling
capable. I mean that’s where the power I think is, really, is feeling capable
to meet what comes and what presents itself to me and I was going to go
somewhere else too. Now I don’t remember. Maybe you have something else to
throw in there.
Anne: 03:57 No, I mean, you know,
what makes me feel attractive? You know, I think I probably feel most
attractive when I’m less aware of myself that way or other. When I’m in it,
when I’m present, when I’m connecting very much with someone. When I am doing
what I feel my purpose is to do, when I am living my purpose, when I, when I am
following my passion in whatever way that manifests. When I am, I mean, and I
don’t want to sound contrived. I was just thinking when I am involved in
something––I’ve been involved in causes that are larger than myself. When I’m
involved that way, I feel vital and right. And yes, powerful. All of those
things that you mentioned. When I am helping people. A couple of days ago
someone was in need and a few of us were helping that person in need. I think
that that like purposeful when we’re all working together to help someone out.
Thea: 05:31 Capable. Meeting what’s
in front of you. So it’s interesting as you know––speaking about what makes us
feel attractive––it’s about being necessary, needed. These are the things that
give us that sense of being appealing because we feel like we’re fulfilling
Anne: 05:57 Significant! We feel
significant, we feel significant to whatever it is we’re bringing ourselves to.
Thea: 06:10 And then, I mean, and
then that leads me…you know, of course those things flow easier for me when
my body feels healthy and strong. When I’m rested, when I have a good rhythm in
my life. So health, feeling healthy allows me to fulfill my obligations, allows
me to fulfill them beyond the base minimum or the bare minimum. Into, like,
giving my inspiration, using my inspiration, being inspired. So really, so I’m
thinking attractive to me is synonymous with good. Feeling good. Right?
Anne: 06:58 Yeah. But I also really
like what you just said––inspired. I mean that kind of encapsulates everything
that we were just talking about. Feeling inspired.
Thea: 07:07 And that can happen
through my own work, through whatever it is that my passion or my sense of
purpose and meaning comes. It can also come through ignited moments with other
people. Right? And that can come in different forms, can come through
conversation, can come through appreciation of something beautiful together
with somebody and seeing something with someone else.
Anne: 07:37 Yes! And that’s what I
was talking about with that connection. That I think that’s one of the biggest
things that’s attractive to me in other people is a connection. You know, I
mean, that only makes sense, right? When, when we’re on the same wavelength or
if we’re on the same big wavelength together or something and meeting each
other there and they’re seeing what I’m seeing and we’re back and forth, that’s
very attractive to me. Right?
Thea: 08:06 Yes. And I would add to
that, the other thing that makes me think or find someone attractive is when
someone IS capable, when someone is in their own purpose and when someone else
is fulfilling their destiny, or searching or seeking to fulfill it and is
finding their own inspiration. That draws me to them. Because there’s something
happening in that.
Anne: 08:38 Yes. It’s dynamic. But,
but also when they’re doing it in, in such a way that is without
self-consciousness. Right? And that’s, that’s when courage, I mean courage is
attractive in many forms, but when someone is seeking, when someone is trying,
when someone’s doing, when someone is exploring, that’s all very attractive.
Right? And you know, and then in terms of like, you know, just the requisite
list of what do I find attractive? And let’s, let’s acknowledge that we’re
women, right? And, and women are different than men which is the age old thing.
And I don’t know what it’s like to be a man, though I’d say, I don’t know, with
different hormonal changes or whatever as I get older, you know, I can get us
more of a sense of where they’re so drawn and driven aesthetically, sometimes,
but stillwe’re different.
Anne: 09:41 But I also want to point
out that that article that I had written about wrinkles and gray hair means
we’ve arrived––I got a lot of good feedback from men who expressed that they,
they don’t like the fakeness either. That’s not important enough to them. But
there are so many other aspects of a woman that are what draws them. Right? And
vitality and health of course, right? It only makes sense for all the reasons
you mentioned, but but back to what, what I find attractive is the mind, you
know, I’m, I’m into the mind, I get drawn to, to people’s minds. I get drawn,
like I said, to, to the connection. Certainly ease and confidence in someone is
very appealing. I have had many relationships in my life and there’s not been
one particular type. There’s been different different sizes and, and colorings
and features and all of those things, right? And because it comes––that
attractiveness and sense of oneself, self-possession––comes in many forms,
Thea: 11:20 So, attractiveness, you
know, sense of beauty and the lack of consciousness about how one is beautiful
in a moment––is what’s beautiful. But as soon as there’s that awareness of how
beautiful one is, it’s affected and it feels unattractive in like a moment. So
it’s a funny, funny thing that can happen, which I think kind of led us into a
little bit of another conversation tying all of this into parenting a bit in
terms of how to allow our children to grow up without this scrutinizing
self-consciousness––which, which comes in different phases and at different
ages anyway coming into becoming. But the lack of, of having lots of mirrors
for children to be studying themselves. Because if we get, I mean, I’m thinking
of myself as an adolescent right now and there is this, there was for me a period
of like really scrutinizing myself in a mirror, which, which was never
pleasing. I mean, it, it never made me feel better. Well I remember some
conversations with you, but I won’t bring those on here.
Anne: 12:50 Are you thinking of
Thea: 12:53 Totally. Hilarious. But
you know, it’s, it’s about getting outside of ourselves. Cause when we go into
ourselves, we, we become less happy. I mean we can take that into talking about
when one feels depressed. I mean, I remember adolescence and having that
feeling of depression. And that was when I was focusing on myself. So much. So
it’s like getting outside of oneself, we become more beautiful and we become
happier, which those are like two sides of the same coin anyway. And, and so
thinking about our children, not having photographs of your children all over
the place in your home because we are not these finite beings. We are more than
that. Right? And that’s the thing about this, when we’re having, you know,
artificial work, I can’t remember what the word was
Anne: 13:58 Cosmetic enhancements.
Thea: 13:58 Cosmetic enhancements.
That’s working just with this finite physical being, which is not the thing
that makes us attractive. I mean, sure, there are moments, there’s classic, you
know, there, there are beautiful features, but it becomes more and more
apparent as we live that it’s what’s coming through this being that we find
appealing or not.
Anne: 14:23 Well, you know, let’s
also recognize the fact that there’ve been different definitions of what beauty
is in the first place. Right? So, so yes, what’s coming through us probably is
more what drives that rather than the other way around. Right. Perhaps so happened
to be that what was coming through certain folks who had certain features and,
well, the big breasts makes sense. That’s fertility. But you know, the lean
athletic versus the round…
Thea: 15:07 Voluptuous.
Anne: 15:09 Yeah, it all changes. It
goes back and forth. And so, yes, perhaps what drove that is that a lot of the
doers, the figures of the time, resembled that instead. Right?
Thea: 15:22 Or what impulses were
needed in different times. Was it more of a softening, comforting, gesture to a
world that was suffering or was it like, get shit done. So that’s an
Anne: 15:42 Right. But back to what
you mentioned about the photographs for example, I mean, I remember being, you
know, again, you being my parenting mentor and you making me aware of the fact
that taking shot after shot of your kid at every angle at one, at two or
whatever, and putting them up on the wall. It’s like first off, it pulls the
kid out of themselves once they become aware of the camera in the first place,
right? Second, then they’re looking around at all of these stages of
themselves, which are not them anymore in the first place. So, you know, just
seems to muck things up. The mirror thing, which followed on a conversation I
had with Tina, it’s like, it does start making me wonder. Has this trend toward
image and appearance come along with this age of abundance and materialism
where we just have so much stuff, which means we have mirrors all over the
place. And then go, go beyond that to Hollywood celluloid and the emphasis on
image, and then of course TV. And then now digital cameras and smart phones,
surveillance. You know, you’re on camera all the time. So has that been what
has driven this and, and perhaps we need to take a step back and more
consciously figure out how to––amidst all of that, amidst living in a
fishbowl––make a conscious attempt to remember, remind ourselves that that’s
not necessarily what, well, that’s not all we’re about. Right?
Thea: 17:42 Thank goodness.
Anne: 17:45 And then the final thing
I’ll say that struck me as you were talking is, you know, we’ve talked about
confidence, ease in oneself being in that moment that, that beautiful
harmonious moment of just purpose and doing. That is a very attractive quality
in anyone and to ourselves, for ourselves. If we are spending a lot of effort
and time on contriving ourselves…
Thea: 18:23 On the artifice…
Anne: 18:23 Then not only do we know
that, and that ultimately might not make us feel so confident and at ease with
ourselves even when we’re looking in the mirror, right? Because we’re seeing
that insecurity manifest. And this, that fixation that self focus. We’re seeing
that self focus manifest on our faces when we do cosmetic enhancements, makeup,
whatever. But other people do too. Right? It’s revealing. It’s revealing and
when we get a little too hung up in ourselves, that reveals itself and that
doesn’t move us toward attractiveness to ourselves or to anyone. Right?
Thea: 19:27 I would even then just
add, it’s like, you know, our good efforts, our true and good efforts not only
ripple out and are attractive to our friends, our partners, ourselves, but it’s
good rippling into the world. You know, those moments of, of ease and wisdom.
That’s good for all. Right? So, so that attractiveness is not just an
attractiveness of mate to mate or whatever, you know, it is a ripple into the world.
Anne: 20:11 It’s moving out into the
world rather than getting fixed in here and contracted. It’s expansive, right?
Thea: 20:19 It’s expansive, yeah. And
growing and reverberates, you know, and those are things that make us feel
good, you know? I feel good when someone else is rippling into their goodness,
you know? And that comes back and forth and those things expand all of us into
something bigger. Than just our own small self.
Anne: 20:46 Yes. Okay. All right.
Well let’s wrap it up with that and so maybe the point to remember and practice
a bit is to evaluate whether or not––don’t put a lot of thought into it––but
it’s like these efforts that we’re putting into appearance or whatever, does it
ultimately make us feel good? Do we actually ultimately feel good? Does it feel
good and right?
Thea: 21:19 And, and then, you know,
depending on different people’s habits, you know, I see myself in the morning
when I brush my teeth before I go to school or work or out. But otherwise I
don’t really see myself much during the day. So maybe even just taking note of
how often you see yourself or see reflection of yourself.
Anne: 21:42 Put the mirrors away! Cover
them up. Do a one week experiment. Cover up all the mirrors in your house. And
see how you’re feeling about yourself after that.
Thea: 21:56 Yeah. It might be, it
might be an interesting thing. I remember doing that at different times.
Anne: 22:03 ‘Cause You got so caught
up in your?
Thea: 22:07 I think it was when my
kids were young, I just kind of…
Anne: 22:10 Exactly. Oh, now I
remember. Yes. You did. Just to, to not distract them with all of that, right?
Thea: 22:18 Yeah. I mean, you know,
it’s good to try. But it is fun to see a cat find themselves in the mirror. So
I remember seeing that too. That’s pretty fun.
Anne: 22:25 Yeah, I get it. I get it.
Okay. I was going to say one thing about my kids, but now I was, I was
reprimanded for sharing too much about my kids, so I won’t, but, kids in
mirrors sometimes…I’ll just say this. I remember being a kid and crying and
sobbing in the mirror. And watching all of my expressions. Right?
Thea: 22:48 I think I remember seeing
you do that, actually.
Anne: 22:55 My sidekick. Alright.
Well, thank you so much for fitting this in. See how this one goes. Love to
you. Love to everyone. Love to you, Tina. Okay, bye. Hang on a sec.
For all this talk of female empowerment, injecting Botox into one’s face seems anything but. Let’s embrace the face we’ve lived, and let’s free ourselves from this prison of artifice and illusion.
Join my sister Thea Mason and me as we discuss and examine the impulse behind the Botox trend, and a different way of conceiving our wrinkles, gray hair and…gap teeth:) And how these badges of experience serve to empower us.
Anne: 00:05 So we are recording this
evening for the first time in the evening, and you are also recording from the
road, so we’ll see how the signal works. So this conversation we want to follow
on last week’s. Last week’s, we called “Claiming Our Authority.” We
were discussing the fact that it seems we’re living in a culture in which
people seem to trust outside authority over their own. And we think that’s a
problem. We think that people need to get more in touch with their own inner
compass, inner guide, inner voice than they are right now. And that’s not to
say we don’t value the advice of trusted friends, family, therapists or
whatever, when we need perspective and help, but there seems to be a pattern a
trend toward looking to experts for almost everything these days.
Thea: 01:27 Handing over one’s own
authority, one’s own responsibility, self responsibility to another figure.
Anne: 01:37 Yes. Yes. And as we discussed this, we, we linked it to this, to the fact that image is such a predominant theme in our world, image over essence. You have used this, you’ve articulated this a lot. And the artifice and pretense at work in our world. And we determined that the direction we need to go in to help people reclaim or claim their authority is too recognize image and the value of image––the value of image as a model sometimes for something to aspire to, and to imitate, perhaps ? You had discussed, you had used as an example, like your teacher, you know, who do you sound like at first when you’re trying things out? You sound like your teacher until you make it your own. But it seems as if we’ve gotten stuck in the image and imitation and not moved it to the essence.
Anne: 03:00 And it then led us to an
off-camera discussion about, you know, maybe just little steps like you know,
we’re makeup free gray hair, not a lot of pretense here, I think. And you
hilariously made the joke back to me saying “And I’ll raise you one gap
tooth.” And we realized that’s the starting point of this next one. We
need to talk about this. We need to talk about your gap tooth and how you came
to terms with your gap tooth and the process you went through when you suddenly
had a gap tooth as a grown woman.
Thea: 03:45 Yeah. Okay. So I’ll make
this real quick. So this gap tooth is made by orthodontia, essentially, a
misdirected well-intentioned parents following directions of an orthodontist.
And so I had a fake tooth for many years that never felt comfortable. And
because of the way the orthodontia experience went, had created a crooked tooth
in my mouth, they had like made my front tooth crooked, which had actually
given me headaches for years, which led me towards different healing modalities
to heal myself when I was young. So, you know, I learned a lot. And then at one
point, I guess I must have been in my thirties and my fake tooth that was glued
into my mouth had fallen out for a weekend when I was traveling in Indiana,
where we’re from. And I was like, darn darn darn it. Here I am! And and it was
out for a few days and I felt extremely vulnerable and insecure at first. Very
exposed. But in those couple of days, because this tooth had been yanked to the
side and was crooked and had been creating pressure in my skull, I started to
feel this deep release through my whole being, not having the fake tooth in
Thea: 05:18 And so I knew that I
needed to take it out. I knew I wasn’t quite ready. I was going to take a
little bit of the pain for my vanity or something for a little bit, but I had
sort of given myself a timeframe. And so from that point, I think it was about
a year later, I took it out. Because I had been sort of just working with
envisioning myself with a gap tooth so that my tooth could relax. And you know,
I happen to work with children, and I play games as has come up many times. So
I took it out and my first day back at school, you know I was a pirate playing
a pirate game. So just “Arrgh!” And I really kind of stepped into it
and took it on and became really open. And it literally has changed my life.
Thea: 06:14 I was in a relationship
that was not super positive or healthy, and the person I had been in this
relationship with had even remarked, “You have not been the same since you
took out your tooth.” And so that has given me this journey to myself.
Anne: 06:35 All right, we’ll see.
We’ll see how this signal goes. The signal’s coming in and out. So you were,
you were saying, so this relationship that you were in at the time…
Thea: 06:45 This relationship that I
had been in for many years with the fake tooth in my mouth this person had
remarked that once I took it out and, and life, you know, I was changing and
claiming more of myself and my right to be and to yeah…
Anne: 07:08 Your authority.
Thea: 07:10 My authority. And you
know, this person had remarked that I had never been the same since I took my
fake tooth out, which, you know, had freed me from some idea of how I was to
be. And I do remember, I mean, I was definitely feeling vulnerable and exposed
with it for a period of time in the beginning. And I remember probably
remarking to you, or at least to myself, that this is kind of like, this lets
me know who someone is right away. This is something that stops someone’s way
of relating to me, I’m not interested. You know?
Anne: 07:56 Right. It kind of culls
the herd right off the bat, right? Yeah. I mean that, that to me, I mean, so
many people would have gotten work done to mask a gap in your tooth right
there, right? And to go through that process and be uncomfortable over and over
meeting the world, you know? That is, that’s growing, right? That’s growing.
And that’s, that’s so freeing to get through that and come out the other side.
Right? And well that leads me to, so talk about what we were, we had been
talking about a little bit and I just wrote a little article about it too––but
the topic of cosmetic work and or Botox injections or whatever has been, has
come up in my circle of folks of women too. And then you and I talked a little
bit about that where I’m trying to get my head around that. That idea of taking
measures, which is essentially injecting poison into your face to paralyze the
facial muscles so that they don’t move. So it doesn’t form wrinkles, so that we
look younger than we normally would look, right?
Thea: 09:40 Young? I mean, can I say
younger? I mean, that’s not…
Anne: 09:47 That we look, we look less wrinkly than we otherwise would, right? And I, you know, I touched on the fact that I think there’s, I think there’s a problem with that. And I, again, I acknowledge that, you know, I’ve always been content with the way I look. So yeah, I’m grateful for that, you know, so I understand. I haven’t walked in everyone’s shoes. But you know, I, I like my gray hair. I like these crow’s feet. I like these lines. These lines represent my experience! My, like I put it, my legitimacy. It is who I am. And, and I bring that to the table, right? So this obsession with looking other than we are is something that I think is getting people stuck. You know, it’s not just, I mean, that follows that we get stuck otherwise as well. Right? If we’re perpetually seeking to look different, be different, look different.
Thea: 11:16 Well, actually making
this body stuck. I mean, actually, that’s what it’s doing—is making it stop.
And that is the opposite of growth and flow. That’s not what we are here to do
or to be.
Anne: 11:37 Well, and you know,
honestly the way I look at it is kind of like, I mean, we’ve got a life and
then we’ve got death, right? So I’ve always looked at it as if our lives and
the way we live our lives prepare us for that next very beyond unknown
adventure, whatever that is. If we get stuck holding on to something and not
moving past it, whether it’s image or other, then I would imagine it’s going to
make that stepping through that next doorway a lot more challenging. Right? So
you know, and I say, well, we’ve gotten a bit off track here.
Thea: 12:27 We have a little bit,
but, so maybe we’ll just find where we’re going and if it’s not, it’s not, but
what that makes me think of a little bit is I mean really in this aging, I
mean, you’re saying “This is who I am.” This isn’t who you are. I know
that’s not what you mean. Like you aren’t your lines, but this is the story of
your life that you’ve carried. Right? And really it seems like as we age, the
idea is to be able to drop this more easily. This whole thing. Yes. And
instead, people are going to the gesture of grabbing it and holding onto it
while they decompose, you know?
Anne: 13:13 Yeah. It’s holding onto
the artifice. Isn’t it? Holding on to artifice. So I’ll share a little story
too. And I wrote about this as well, but I look at womanhood in basically the
three archetypal stages of maiden, mother, crone. And I, I feel I’m in the
mother stage right now. I mean, I am, I’m, I’m mothering my kids are halfway
there, I’d say. And I remember, yeah, right before I embarked on this journey
of starting a family and having these children, I was sitting with a filmmaker
who liked to just randomly just take pictures as you’re sitting there. And I
knew how to take pictures quite well and I knew how to pose, and in that
moment, I made this conscious decision as, as he pulled the camera up, to not
pose. To just look straight at it, because I realized I was walking through a
doorway as I was embarking on this new life and I was no longer the, the
maiden. I was no longer the, I wasn’t the ingenue, right? I was owning my, my
entrance into the next stage of motherhood, womanhood. And that was very
significant to me. But it was a conscious decision, conscious choice. Right? So
as I also had mentioned in this article, you know, there’s a place for each
stage. We need the maidens and their fertile, supple bodies. But what, what
comes with that is also a naivete. And, a hopeful naivete, which serves us very
well and serves the world very well, but that also needs to be tempered by the
mother, that next stage of woman who has experienced and who has honed her
purpose and brings her experience to the table as well. We need her as well.
And we also need the crone in her wisdom, in her deep wisdom of life’s
experience having gone through maidenhood through motherhood and
grandparenthood and even beyond because our perspective changes greatly as we
move through life.
Anne: 16:16 But if we’ve got a bunch
of we’ve got the maidens sitting at the table, the, the women trying to look
like maidens sitting at the table and the crones also looking like maidens
something’s off whack and we’re not going to move forward. Right? So I guess
let’s wrap it up by, by just, you know, concluding that there is such a
liberation in shedding that one stage. And that identity, right? I’m not the
pretty young thing anymore. Right?
Thea: 16:58 Right. Well, yeah, I mean
sure, yes. Pretty young, I dunno. I just, you’re very pretty. And I think
getting prettier, you know, is, is the other thing. There’s, there’s something
to a person, inhabiting themselves more fully and completely that is
breathtaking. So, so that’s the thing. I mean, I, I think what I would want to
take us to a discussion next time is what is it we really find appealing and
attractive in people, in our friends, in our lovers? What is it? Because it’s
not the lack of wrinkles, right? Wrinkles and gray hair can be just the
sexiest, most delightful thing ever, right? So, why? What is it we’re holding
onto there? What is it that we are, in a culture, still trying to hold in our
hands and we name it as smooth skin. Like what is that? Is it, is it
hopefulness? Is it that that’s actually what’s being lost? And so holding onto
the image of what we were when we were hopeful? You know, there’s a whole lot
Anne: 18:25 Yeah. and also to kind
of, to explore who is driving this, too, in a way. Like, we talk a lot about
female empowerment, but this is anything but, right? So are we mistakenly
seeking something that is not even that, which is something to aspire to even
even on a superficial level? Right? Are women doing this for men? Are men doing
this for women? I know some women will talk about the fact that it will up
their confidence to look better, to look more youthful and that aids them in
all areas of life. But that still comes from some, some original impulse that
that youthful look is something that is so highly valued even when you are
almost 49 years old or whatever it is. Right? Or 70 years old.
Thea: 19:45 Right. It’s so hard for
me to really grasp that, that I just keep thinking that it’s actually we’re
grasping after a feeling rather than a looking. Right? And that’s where the
image part is––what we can look at in a picture and see ourselves when we were
young and didn’t have wrinkles and remember the state of mind, maybe? Or the
state of feeling that we were in, and that’s what we’re reaching for rather
than actually this skin. I, you know, I don’t know.
Anne: 20:19 No, you got it. You got
it. It’s the tangible, it’s something that we can, we can grab basically. So
perhaps it goes much deeper than that, but, but the only way we can quantify
it, materialize it, is with Botox or facelifts or something.
Thea: 20:38 Or the only way we think
we can, yeah. Right?
Anne: 20:41 Right. So next time we’ll
talk about that. We’ll see how this one turns out with all your frame
Thea: 20:49 Yeah, sorry.
Anne: 20:50 No, hey, it is what it is. We roll with it. Right? It’s all about the substance and not the image. All right. Let me end the recording. Thank you for doing this. Hold on.
We put so much effort into toxin free living, why would we then inject it into our faces? Let’s embrace these badges of experience and wisdom instead of trying to diminish, mask or erase them.
The topic of Botox, facelifts and aging has come up a lot recently in my circle of women. I’m almost 49, and my circle of friends includes thirty, forty and fifty something women. Like most anyone, I had encountered or knew women who had had cosmetic surgery or botox injections done, but I’ve only recently become aware of how widespread a practice it has become. And I’m quite shocked.
I’ve apparently been completely out of the loop, but I had been under the impression that the plastic surgery trend had peaked in the US in the 80s/90s and was on the decline. And while I was aware of the practice of injecting something into one’s face to reduce lines and wrinkles, I had the impression it was primarily employed by Hollywood actresses and occasional Ladies who Lunch.
Botox has become an increasingly common procedure even offered at beauty salons and spas, and women of all walks and ages seem to be jumping on the bandwagon. I recently learned that women I know in their thirties have been getting routine Botox treatments. And I hear it’s now recommended that women even in their twenties get started on this procedure, ostensibly to prevent wrinkles from even developing in the first place in the normal course of a lifetime of smiling or furrowing one’s brow.
I had no idea what Botox actually was. I wasn’t even aware there was any difference between that and collagen injections. There is. Botox is what actually causes BOTULISM! It’s the toxin produced by Clostridium botulinum bacteria which causes the flaccid paralysis which leads to the respiratory failure associated with botulism food poisoning fatalities. People now pay to have this poison injected into their faces to paralyze the facial muscles in order that they don’t move and cause wrinkles.
I can’t really even believe that I’m typing that as if it’s a normal thing. Isn’t this insane? Isn’t this another huge warning sign that our culture is heading in the wrong direction? And even more bizarre, many women who engage in this practice are the same women who advocate for organic, non-GMO food, and who strive to live as toxin-free lives as possible––for themselves and for their families.
How can we resolve this disconnect?
I understand I haven’t walked in everyone’s shoes. I also understand I’ve been blessed with an appearance I’m content with. I’m a pretty healthy, active, and fairly fit 48 year old woman. My parents raised me with an emphasis on physical exercise and health, and I’m sure that’s served me well as I’ve gotten older. And I live in Northern California, where it’s conducive to be outdoors a lot, breathing in the fresh air and taking in the healthy sunshine. All good ingredients toward physical health.
However, I’m still trying to get my head around this idea of trying to look younger than we are. Especially for a married woman who has already had her children. Why would I want to look younger than 48? I am 48!
I know this isn’t the norm, but in my 20s and 30s, I looked forward to reaching my 40s. My younger self felt that by 40, I would have reached an age of legitimacy. An age by which I had gained enough life experience that I would have enough of a clue to be able to own my space here on Earth. That I would legitimately have a say about how things are done. That I would finally touch what it must feel like to be the respected elder in the society.
“Female Empowerment” is a popular slogan these days. A forty something year old woman paying someone to inject paralyzing poison into her facial muscles in an attempt to look younger than her maturely wizened self seems anything but empowered. It suggests she does not want to be who or where she is in life. It suggests she regrets her life’s experience. It suggests she wishes she were younger.
I enjoyed my youth, and I enjoyed my twenties and thirties. But I think most women would agree that there is a unique pleasure in reaching one’s forties. I think we kind of catch up to ourselves as we shed the maiden self in need of approval, protection, acceptance. Women in their forties stop caring as much about what others think or want them to do or be, and they begin to inhabit themselves more fully. Women in their forties take their life’s experience and apply it to new endeavors, new careers, new companies, new directions. In my and many of my peers’ experience, the forties can be a lot of fun. We’ve taken enough turns around the sun to know what life’s about, and we start really enjoying and understanding this human female experience.
I don’t want to return to the naivety of my youth, when life was more overwhelming, and decisions more fraught with worry or anxiety. The future is now, and I embrace all that’s led me here. I regard my gray hair with reverence and respect. I consider it powerful. It represents my wisdom and experience. My smile lines and crow’s feet indicate a life fully experienced, felt and lived. My forehead lines indicate years of expression and contemplation. This is what I bring to the table. This is what demonstrates my authority. My age. My experience. My wisdom.
I am not the virgin maiden anymore. I am a mother and a wife, a homeowner and a business owner. I gave birth to two kids and breastfed them, and it shows. My tummy is not as taut or flat as it was before motherhood. My hips are wider. My breasts are saggier. My body has done the beautiful job it was blessed to do. Why would I want it to look as if it hadn’t been through that blessed experience and rite of womanhood passage?
This life is a process of growth and stages and development. I perceive the three distinct stages of a woman’s life––if she’s fortunate to live long enough––as the archetypal maiden, mother, crone. The fertile maiden brings a supple body and a fresh and hopeful naivety to the table. We need her. The mature mother brings a capable body of experience and honed purpose to the table. We need her. The crone brings the wisdom of the years of maidenhood, motherhood, grandparenthood and beyond to the table. We need her.
But if all we’ve got sitting around the table are maidens, mothers trying to be maidens, and crones trying to be maidens, how far can we go? How powerful can we be? How can we move forward into the future, when we’re desperately clinging to some illusion of the past? If we want to be treated with reverence and respect, we must behave like grown-ups. We should allow our physical selves to reflect the experience we bring to the world, and we should embrace the power in that. And stop injecting poison into our bodies in order to look like little girls.
In a world full of pretense and artifice, we’ve been taught to look outside ourselves for answers. Let’s penetrate this false belief by reaching for the essence beyond the image.
Anne: 00:01 And we’re recording. Hi,
Thea: 00:03 Hello there.
Anne: 00:06 So we’re going to try to
make this another quickie. And what, and I’ll, I’ll lead right in to where
we’re going, I think. I was telling you before we started recording that my
son, a couple of days ago, had asked for some advice. And the advice was at, at
our homeschool park day, we have a variety of ages and, it was a new member
park day too, so we had even more new people, new kids. There were a lot of
youngers. And when I say youngers, I mean even younger than school age. So four
year olds, five year olds. And he asked me, he said that he and one of his
other homeschool buddies––they’re both about 11––were playing one-on-one
basketball. And they were playing with my son’s ball and his friend’s ball was
to the side.
Anne: 01:10 And this little girl,
this four year old came over and she wanted to play with the ball and shoot
baskets, join in with them. And they tried to I think redirect her, which
didn’t work too well, and it sounds like in the end she grabbed the ball and
was shooting hoops, trying to shoot hoops right in the midst of them playing.
Right? So what to do, how to manage that. And I said, well, if your friend is
okay with her playing with his ball, the thing to do is to say “If you
bring your mom or dad, whomever’s there with you at the park over to supervise
you, you can then go play at the other basket with this ball. We’ll allow you
to do that. But we want someone watching you so you don’t get hurt.” And
it led to a discussion about boundaries and about the fact that what I find is
that we are often helping people, children reminding them that there are
boundaries. That we, we are helping children establish boundaries. And really,
ultimately we are helping parents be parents, I find a lot these days. Because
I explained to my son, the parent should have been there. The parent should
have been aware of where their four year old was if the four-year-old is not
capable of recognizing that there is something going on here that they need to
respect and not intrude upon. The parent needs to be there, and the parent
wasn’t there. Right?
Thea: 03:00 Right. And can I jump in
here? And then there’s that part where the 11 year old boys have that
opportunity to say, “Hey we see you want to play, but we’ve got a game
going on. So you can sit and watch for a little while, ’cause we don’t want to
knock you over ’cause we might be getting a little rough. You know. So there’s
that, that teaching moment that comes for those young children to teach a
younger and that’s how, that’s part of that village picture too. You know, if
the parent isn’t available or isn’t around, ’cause that’s what, that’s what
they would do if it was their younger sibling. Like “No, sorry you can’t
play. We’re already playing and we don’t want to have to totally alter our
experience right now.” And then there are those times where, I mean I, in
terms of those kind of social dynamics where you know, my boys ranging eight
years, you know, they would go down to the park and shoot hoops and then other
kids in the neighborhood would join in. And there is something that’s just so
beautiful about that ability to play safely with those varying degrees, which
we’ve talked about in various conversations about the youngest being the
oldest, sometimes. The oldest being the, you know, the different roles they get
Thea: 04:22 And then I can recall in
the early days of my eldest, when I had time to spend at the park at that time,
those experiences of meeting other children and parents and, and those social
things, that’s a learning sphere right there for new parents. And I remember
sensing that nobody really knows what the rules are. There aren’t any rules
here. And how do we find our way and shape and hold this for our children,
right? Because there’d be some people who would bring toys. There’d be some
people here. And so are we expecting them all to share? What works out here?
And then there is that step as a parent where one comes into, “these are
my rules and this is how we’re going to do it.” Right? And then that lets
the kids know where they are too, you know? And so other parents, as long as
people are civil and courteous with one another, everyone can know where
everyone is and can respect those spaces. But that doesn’t happen until someone
steps up and says, Hey, this really isn’t appropriate for you right now, four
year old. Dear sweet child, you can come sit over here and watch. You know, but
no one knows until someone says something.
Anne: 05:48 Right! And, and so and
what we’ve talked about, like you’re saying here and we talked about in the
past is that there is an extreme lack, I think of parents knowing to step up
and say that. And, and so what you and I have talked about throughout many of
our talks, we’ve talked about resilience, we’ve talked about autonomy. We have
talked about boundaries spacial dynamics, spacial relationships, respect
breeding, you know, begetting resilience, right? And it comes down to, what we
were talking about earlier this morning, is claiming your authority. This needs
to be worked on. People need to be empowered to reclaim or claim their
authority, their authority as grownups, their authority, as parents, their
authority, as people as empowered individuals.
Thea: 06:51 Individuals, yeah. I mean
claiming one’s authority as an individual. And we were just talking about that
a little bit in terms of the reclaiming of that authority of the individual
throughout our broader culture in society. We see that as a trend of lack of
real authority figures, you know, standing tall. I’m sorry, I kinda got a
little sidetracked, but also that’s what’s necessary for true relationship.
Right? Because that’s self responsibility. To really claim my authority in my
life, in my sphere. That comes from me being responsible for myself,
recognizing what I’m responsible for and who I’m responsible for.
Anne: 07:46 Yeah. And trusting one’s
compass, I think. And what we talked about a little bit is that, I mean, again,
I am 48 going on 49, you know, we’re both in our forties. How old are you? I
Thea: 08:04 I’ll be 43 this month.
Anne: 08:06 Right. So it has taken me
certainly to my forties, to feel very comfortable with my authority. And you
know, and I reflect on this. It’s like, I do think it’s a societal thing. I
think that it is certainly a product of our educational system. And many other
things. I think intentionally it is cultivating a culture of people who look
outside themselves to know what to do to look to experts and authorities that are
not them. Right? Whether it is, I mean, we have, we have experts in every
realm. All walks, people pay experts for everything. People won’t do things
because, until their doctor tells them to. People won’t make choices and
instinctively act in certain ways without their lawyer’s advice and, and on and
on and on. Right? So I think we all have to work through that to come out the
other side and recognize that WE are our best authority. But what I think has
really emerged from that culture is this lack of parental authority, too,
right? And lack of individual authority in relationships, in marriages. Also
people going to their shrinks. You know, spouses who have problems. They, you
know, they won’t talk about their problems without a counselor or therapist leading
them lead them through it. Right? This is not the way to go. Right? This is,
this is, this is false belief. That’s a foundation of false belief.
Thea: 09:55 Yes. Whew!
Anne: 09:56 So, you know, in brief,
we, you know, we’ve got just a few minutes, let’s discuss what steps we can
take to cultivate that for people, for ourselves, for our children. And, and
one last thing, just to give you a little something to think about is, I
honestly have learned a great deal about that from you. You’re my six years younger
sister, right? But I grew up being the people pleaser, the parent pleaser. I
was the oldest. I didn’t take my own risks that I felt worth taking until I was
much older than you did when you were taking your risks, I think. I did what I
was supposed to do, right? So it took me a lot longer. And then you had
children before I did. And so I got to look to you as a model, because I saw
what incredible kids you have. You’ve done an amazing job. If anyone knows her
kids, I mean they’re remarkable, extraordinary human beings. And with such a
sense of themselves, other people as they maneuver and navigate through the
world. So you’ve, you’ve really helped me in that way. So I kind of look to you
to impart some words of wisdom, I suppose.
Thea: 11:24 Well, that’s very
generous in that. I think that there are some things that we all have helped
each other, you know, see, for sure. And when we were talking about this a
little bit previous, I think it came out of a remark when I was reflecting on
what my work. What essentially I do for my work is really help to teach young
people what it means to respect themselves and others. That’s what we touch in
upon in relationship. So we can’t really have relationship until we learn where
one is and where the other is––until we learn how those two spaces can meet and
separate in a respectful way. And I mean that’s the work I’m continuing to do
in my own life for sure. But in terms of this sort of work and, and then that
sparked this reflection of something that happened in the playground because
these are social games that I bring to young people. And so in those social
spheres, that’s where we learn. We learn by messing up, and then we learn by
trying it again. We learn that what I said wasn’t clear. And so I have to say it
again in a more clear way. I don’t know if that’s bringing a pointed example,
but I do also feel like this is one other part to share with this. I remember
one of my parenting mentors, Misty––cause she had a daughter eight years older
than our children––and I remember her saying, “Don’t say ‘NO’ unless you
mean it, but say it when you mean it.” And I feel like I’ve seen that in
our culture––there’s a lot of resistance to using absolutes, “NOs”,
you know, “this is a boundary you cannot cross.” But then when people
do use it, they’re using it and not backing it up, without following through,
which makes “NO” mean nothing, you know.
Anne: 13:47 Because they actually
don’t know really what requires the “NO” or doesn’t. And that gets
back to, gosh, it makes me even think about the whole, that’s a whole other
discussion too, but in terms of the relationship between men and women and
“no means no.” It’s like no, it’s not just language. You know, you
have to truly know what feels right and what feels wrong. And when something
feels wrong, it’s, you know, act upon it. When something feels right, act upon
Thea: 14:26 Yeah. And it’s the
recognizing, yes, that the language is like the 10% of our communication. I
don’t know if there’s some study. But everything that’s behind it is what
people are responding to. And I think we’ve talked about that a little bit in
different things here––when we’re trying to create rules that are just material
or just arbitrary, they fail. They mean nothing. And so we now look at where we
are, and a lot of it is due to that, I think, you know.
Anne: 15:08 And I’m just sparking
right now. I’ve been sensing this and this is where I see it. It relates to
artifice and pretense. You have brought this up a couple of times recently
where, what did you say? It’s about the image as opposed to substance?
Thea: 15:28 Yeah, things get caught
up into the image rather than the essence. So much. I mean, I remember talking
about this years and years back when we talked about, you know, different
realms that I’ve lived in, you know, and where the substance, the essence seems
to be lost and people just grab onto the image. The artificial, the material
things that represent the image of the essence.
Anne: 15:55 The trappings. Yes. And
we’re going to actually wrap it up pretty soon, but basically, it makes me
think of just like, like this: I mean, you know, we’re not made up, makeup, all
that. Right? It’s like, I was telling my husband this, that like, as time has
gone on in my life, perhaps as I have lived and forged more of myself, I have a
harder and harder time indulging or engaging in anything like that. It feels so
unreal, somehow. Putting make-up on, even. Right?
Thea: 16:37 Pointless.
Anne: 16:37 Yeah. so there’s that.
Same with, I remember years and years and years ago, in my 20s, starting to
have this sense of people in my adult life––as I was encountering adults, I
would recognize that some people seemed, or a lot of people seemed like they
were pretending to be grownups. They would say things that sounded to me like
things they had heard that they think sounds grown up, but I could tell they
weren’t really grownups. Right? So it’s all wrapped up in that similar thing of
artifice, pretense, academic learning, abstract learning versus knowing this.
Right? So there’s, there’s so much of that that we have to explore in another
Thea: 17:26 We will, and I have to
say one more thing before we close it, because there’s something here. I’m
gonna try to be really brief, but there’s something in the image. Because I
think when you’re talking like that––of people that you would see that would be
acting like they were grownups, right? Imitation. And so that, that draws me to
the young child. They learn through imitation. We learn through imitation, but
it has to then translate. It has to evolve into the being. It has to evolve
into the beingness of the essence. But what we’re seeing in our culture so much
is that it, it circles and circles and circles around in the image. Into the
image imitation rather than it dropping into the essence and then the
evolution. There’s something there for us to go more with next time. But that
has something to do with the inability to step into true authority. Because if
you are functioning in this artifice, this image, and you’re only in the
imitation––which is a process! Part of that is necessary. Right? I mean, I
think of, when I’ve learned to teach, who do I sound like? My teacher. Until I
digest it and it’s become myself and then I’m me. So it’s a process.
Anne: 18:54 Right. We model, we model
and then learn, right? We model and try things out. Until we embrace or discard
what doesn’t work for us. Right? But we seem to be caught in this cycle of
imitation and pretense and fear.
Thea: 19:10 And the appearance.
Anne: 19:10 The appearance. Where the
appearance is so important, as opposed to the truth. Truth! And substance.