Current Affairs

I’ve thought a lot in the past couple of weeks about what I can say to help with what’s going on lately. Life feels more fragile, a little more tenuous in the face of it all. But the truth is that life is always fragile. History is full of brutal manmade destruction and rife with natural disasters even while it is equally full of soaring beauty and truly wonderful levels human achievement. We are being reminded almost daily that everything we know can be snatched away at a moment, outside of our control. And we can either fear that and go on autopilot, or try to deny it and escape reality, or we can accept it and work to live up to our potentials in whatever stretch of time we have. And if we’re not striving towards the third option, what’s really the point?

So do what you have to in order to practice self-care. Heal yourself to the point where you can turn off the autopilot and stop the escapism for little stretches of time at first and then longer and longer moments. Find a life of meaning in whatever you do, and if something isn’t working, don’t fear changing it. And don’t be afraid to shine your inner light. Also, if you feel like you want to change things, find ways to help where you can. You can’t help everyone, but you can help someone. You can’t control the way the world operates, but you can control how you operate within the existing parameters and work to change those parameters.

Finally, if you really want to change the world, stop letting assholes win. If all the caring, empathetic people in the world would adopt this attitude individually and collectively, things would change so fast. Stop supporting those who don’t value their fellow human beings, whether it be the big fish in the small pond or the sharks in the ocean, small-town sleezy landlord or big time Hollywood producer or career politicians at any level. Stop giving them your money, stop giving them your time and attention unless it’s to rub their faces in their misdoings like a dog and say “no” very loudly and repeatedly until they get the message. If you are going to start demanding the best of yourself, demand the best from those who profit off of you as well. There is so much potential power there.

It is hard not to get caught up in the fear and the drama. But that let’s those assholes win, and that is the one thing I refuse to do.

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You Should Not Sacrifice Principles for a Paycheck

This whole ‘take a knee’ movement and the backlash it’s created has presented some fairly alarming popular viewpoints (one being that professional sports actually matters in the big scheme of things, amirite?), but the one I want to address is this argument put forth that because these athletes are paid a certain amount of money, they should shut up and perform the job that they are paid to do and that’s it. The same argument went around when the Hamilton actors spoke out on Broadway, and I’ve heard the argument made for other performers that have used their fame to push a particular viewpoint or platform that they believed in. Basically, anyone who is in the public eye for a particular talent needs to completely separate themselves from their persona, whatever that may be.

Thinking about this, I think it’s because so many of the common folk either deliberately or instinctively do this at their place of employment, and when they finally sit down to watch the ol’ game or listen to music or attend the theater, they want 1) to just escape and not be forced to think and 2) to not allow anyone else privileges of speaking their mind when they themselves are unable to do so at the risk of being fired. If they are good little cogs in the machine, so should the entertainment class.

But this is so wrong. You should have principles that matter more to you than your job, that if someone wanted to you be immoral or to turn a blind eye, you would not be willing to do so for the sake of a paycheck. But we do because we fear – we fear consequences, we fear poverty, we fear the machine we support breaking down even knowing that eventually this machine will consume us. And then when other people don’t allow their fear to hold them back, that makes us uncomfortable, so we try to shout them down. And thus we place our own chains of servitude around our own necks, and we try to pretend those chains don’t exist, and we try to trap those who would escape. It’s really sad.

So, if you find yourself being uncomfortable reading this, really ask yourself what your principles are. If you aren’t willing to defend them, you need to find some better ones probably. We have so much amazing potential as a species if we just let the fear and pettiness go.

Some Thoughts on Life

I’ve been listening to some random lectures and talks online while sewing in recent weeks, and a couple of things I’ve heard have stuck with me, so I wanted to share my thoughts on them.

The first was a positive, truly inspiring lecture, and the line that stuck with me was when the speaker was telling everyone to stop comparing themselves to others, that we each have a purpose to fulfill here in life. And the line was that we are all puzzle pieces making up the world, and the puzzle pieces fit with other pieces to make the whole, and without even one piece, the picture is incomplete. So we’re all vital, we’re all important. And it’s our connections with each other that are truly the most important thing. I thought that was truly lovely.

The comparison game is such a tempting one, isn’t it? And we’re bombarded all the time by advertising and programming that tells us to fall into that trap so they can sell us crap, and the prevalence of social media in our lives makes it oh so easy to constantly compare and then bring ourselves down by our lack. We spiral low, shop to make ourselves feel better, drown our sorrows in more media or unhealthy habits, and let ourselves get trapped. It’s terrible. But I have learned to look at my twinges of jealousy as the sign markers for where I need to grow and direct my life. My friend is traveling off to far lands while I’m trapped with a baby and no money? Plan a day trip or weekend trip with the family and crash with friends. Someone I know released a single or put out a new book? That little pin prick is the drive for me to carve out a little time to create. And continue to make differences where I can. But this metaphor of a puzzle is one that will help quell the twinges all together, I think.

The second was a psychologist speaking about something that touched deeply on my spiritual awakening that occurred several  years ago, and I’m going to be deliberately vague because it’s very personal to me, but mainly what she said cast the entire experience in a very negative light. And I reflected on this a lot, and I’ve decided that I still am glad I went through my experiences because of the profound growth that I’ve had. There was a catalyst, a rebirthing, and then a test, all in one, and there were risks involved, but because I stayed true to myself and listened to my heart, it was a test I passed. It was necessary for my evolution, and this speaker would have cast me as a victim. And I don’t know if she truly sees the world that way, or if she’s just out to make more clients and make a buck.

So here it is, any period of growth is tumultuous. Any true spiritual experience has risks because we live in a materialistic age and have lost a lot of the knowledge of the spiritual so you enter blindly. But I know that everything in life has a positive and a negative side – the same tool can be used to heal or to harm. And it is each of our own responsibility to guard our own paths. To a lesser extent, we can help guard the paths of those we love, but really it has to come from within. We need to decide the things we value in our hearts and souls and then not waver from those values. Because it is when we become untrue to ourselves that others can manipulate us.

Anyway, those are my random thoughts.

“Lady Liberty and Uncle Sam” A Poem – AKA I Finally Wrote a Thing

I wrote the following and it was super cathartic to do, but I think I would describe it more as a “piece” rather than a “poem” due to the discordant rhythm and the dialogue involved, but that suits the mood. Hopefully this means my streak has been broken. We’ll have to see.

Lady Liberty and Uncle Sam

Lady Liberty weeps
In the corner on the floor,
Torch extinguished.
Uncle Sam says
“Smile! Don’t you know
You are so much
Prettier
When you smile?
I can’t abide
Your ugliness.”
“Oh Sammy,” Liberty wails,
“Your games have gone
Too far,
And I feel such pain
That smiling is an
Impossibility.”
“You’re too temperamental,”
Uncle Sam replies.
“You let your
Emotions
Get the best of you.
Swallow it down, like me,
Until you are
Numb inside.”
Standing, Liberty shouts.
“No, I won’t allow myself
To become internally
Dead.
Nor will I hide
From the truth.
You have done terrible things,
And my name no longer means
What it did.
Payment is coming due, Sammy,
And I fear it has all been for nought.”
Uncle Sam snaps
And knocks Lady Liberty
To the ground.
“You’re a bitch and a whore.
How dare you question
My authority?
I know better than you
The way to control
These masses.
Fear and pain
Are tools of the trade.
Get used to it.”
He looks at her and laughs.
“You may be stupid,
But I’ll keep you around,
As long as you’re leashed.
I like that you
Do my feeling
For me.”
Lady Liberty rises once again
And lights her torch anew.
Calmly, gently, she sets
Uncle Sam ablaze.
“There are times,”
She muses to herself,
“That you just need to
Start over.”

Copyright 2017, Kat Micari.

State Constitutions – do you know yours?

I was inspired a few weeks ago by a podcast that had someone elucidating the rights spelled out in the PA State Constitution, which has inspired me to slowly work my way through the NYS one. Because while I’ve read the US constitution in government class, I’ve never looked at the states before, and I have the feeling that those may be more important in days to come.

The history of the NYS constitution is interesting. It’s been amended and even re-written a couple of times. And a vote is coming up this year on whether to call another constitutional convention.

I’ve finished Section 1, and I have several tidbits I want to bring up and discuss, and I think I’m going to use Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook to do it because I really don’t use those platforms aside from sharing my blog links when I update. I’ll go in order, but I’ll pull one positive one out for today.

[Freedom of speech and press; criminal prosecutions for libel] §8. Every citizen may freely speak, write and publish his or her sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right;

NYS constitution Section 1, Article 8

Bam! Freedom of speech protected but you are also FULLY responsible for what issues out of your brain. More people need to understand this, at every level of society. Maybe especially the politicians.

Now I really would prefer we live in a truly self-governed society and that humanity was evolved enough to be able to live in this way, but until that happens, it’s important to know what we’re working with. There is already some verbiage in the first section that made me raise my eyebrows a bit.

Do you know what your state constitutions or even local community charters look like? Do you know what rights of yours may be being infringed upon either legally or illegally? Do you care?

Little Boy Blue, a poem

Posting this poem yet again because my heart is hurting yet again. Things won’t change until we demand that they change.  But it takes a lot of us demanding change to make it happen.

 

Little Boy Blue

Oh little boy blue,
Playing with a gun,
Don’t you know someone
Once held you for her own?
Carried you for nine months,
Then rocked you for more?
Can you even understand
How you made her heart soar?

Oh little boy blue,
In your uniform so dark,
When you go about your work,
The stains never leave a mark.
You stand before your family,
Your chin lifted in pride.
The shine on your badge
Can’t hide the darkness inside.

Oh little boy blue,
How can you sleep at night?
Do you truly believe that
‘Might makes right’?
Your anger and aggression
Causes blood to pour.
Do you even know
Who you’re fighting for?

Oh little boy blue,
Your friends call you out to play.
Now you’re hunting in a pack
Each and every day.
Didn’t your mother teach you
Not to always follow the crowd?
Is there ever an end
To the violence you’re allowed?

Oh little boys in blue,
Playing with your guns,
Don’t you realize we’re all
Someone’s daughters and sons?

Copyright 2015, Kat Micari

I’m So Very Very Tired…

Cue Madeline Kahn. If I ever decided to pursue a career in acting, my goal would be to follow in Madeline Kahn’s footsteps.

But seriously, I’m so tired. My 9 month old has been going through a sleep regression for weeks now. And the lack of sleep is taking a huge toll on me emotionally and physically. I’ve been suffering a severe lack of “me” time, either to relax and self-care or to create. We know what we signed up for as parents, especially being the second time around, but it’s still not easy. I pity those who are chronic insomniacs.

I’m also tired in the sense I blogged about last spring. You can read it here. More people seem to be growing aware of the bigger picture, that change is needed, but will it be enough?

And really, I’m so tired of being strong. Strength of will, strength of character, a pillar of strength, a warrior woman, juggling it all…  Is it strength to do what you feel you have to do? I don’t know.

It’s probably a good thing I didn’t start this blog until after my son was a year and a half years old. He was a terrible sleeper and I was a “mombie” for a long time. A couple of weeks at a time with his sister doesn’t seem half bad by comparison.

I’ll be back to normal soon, I hope. I feel like I’ll be emerging from my cocoon soon.

My Growing Disapproval of the Label “Woke”

The label “woke” is everywhere I turn, and increasingly I cringe inwardly every time I hear it. “Are you woke?” “I’m woke.” “This person is so woke.” “#staywoke” And on and on. A dear friend of mine, whom I love, has been calling her new beau “woke AF”, and it was realizing how much I was making a face while reading this that made me question why I was reacting in this way (and if you are reading this, you know that I am THRILLED that you are so happy and have such an amazing person in your life and I will gladly bear the cringing while being witness to your bliss).

So why do I take issue? Why, I’m so glad you’ve asked.

  1. If you’ve spent any time with me before, you will know I hate labels of all kinds. And this has become yet another divisive label for people. People who think of themselves as “woke” frequently mock and deride the “unwoke” and rather than sharing the knowledge they have gained, they decide to write off those who are not at their level of advancement. And this separation is feeding the ego, not the spirit. If you are more woke than someone else in some ways, then you should have compassion for those that are not yet awake, not disdain. Frustration occasionally, but not disdain. Because at the end of the day, we are both individuals and a collective whole, as a species. So anything that raises you up above other peoples in your own head and makes you able to write off a large group is not really healthy. That’s like writing off your left foot because it’s numb from being in one position for too long, instead of helping to change the position of the left foot to get the blood flowing and be able to use it. Basically, many use it as smug elitism, and that isn’t doing anyone any good.
  2. So very many people, maybe especially those that consider themselves spiritual or are attempting to prey on others who are spiritual, are using the term as a tool to manipulate others to do what they want and to create power differentials. It’s incredibly hypocritical, and hypocrisy is something I abhor. I would rather spend time with an honest asshole than a hypocritical nice person. I have seen arguments that go “I get to do XYZ because I’m woke, and you only have a problem with it because you aren’t. If you were woke, you’d understand”, and what I understand is that you want the opportunity to gain something using really sleazy tactics.
  3. Not everyone is woke to the same things. Some may be spiritually woke and some physically, some may be socially woke while others are woke internally, some may have a slight inkling of what is going on behind the scenes while others may see the same thing from a different angle. I do believe that there are natural laws in the universe we are operating in, and certain fundamental truths exist, but as far as the details go, we all have a lot to learn. So keeping an open mind and not comparing “woke-ness” is a good step. Ben Folds sang that there’s always someone cooler than you, and one can apply that here. There is always someone more evolved and conscious than you.
  4. I think my biggest problem with the term “woke” and the way it is permeating into common culture is that it is in the past tense, implying that the work is done. And I get it. I had some huge leaps in spiritual and creative growth in 2014, when I finally lost my fear of myself and my power to change the world. And I had a brief moment after the tumultuous growing pains where I thought that I was done and could rest on my enlightened laurels and enjoy the fruits of my labor. But the truth is that awakening is something that should be consistently happening in your life. It is an active, present-tense verb because that is the way we should be living – in the present-tense. If you are woke, then you aren’t expanding yourself as much as you can be because you consider yourself done. Diving deep means uncovering more to learn, getting answers to questions means even more questions come up. If I were a bigger conspiracy theorist, I would say that the whole woke movement has been co-opted by figures in whose interest it is to keep people from that repetitive awakening. Life should be like a Fibonnaci spiral – we start small, we expand, then we go back and then expand again but in ever widening circles.

I don’t know. I am probably making much out of nothing. Language is more important than most people realize though. Do any of you have thoughts or feelings on the way this has permeated our culture?

Doctor Dragged from United Flight And the Greater Metaphor

There is the shocking footage currently circulating of the doctor that was dragged from a United Airlines flight due to overbooking. You can see the New York Times article here. And people filmed it, people verbally protested the man being dragged, but not one person moved to intervene. And following the incident, everyone, including the doctor, got back on the flight. This boggles my mind, because I would not go anywhere with that particular crew given that they clearly showed what they truly think of the passengers.

For me, I immediately imagined myself in that situation, or being at home and watching my neighbors be violently dragged away by “the authorities” for no reason whatsoever. And I honestly don’t know. One person against several are not decent odds. But an entire plane-full? Why didn’t they collectively demand a different crew, demand their money, demand for lawyers to be brought to the airport? It didn’t have to be a violent uprising, but some kind of uprising would be more respectful. We’ve been treated like livestock by the plane industry for years, but this really surprised me. Yet another sign of how complacent we’ve all become.

So here we stand, on the brink of yet another unjust war fought over oil on a foreign field that we helped set the stage for, that the powers that be have been manipulating and trying to accomplish for years. And we may loudly protest what will come, but will any of us actually try to stop them? Will we stop giving our power over? I don’t know.

A Lucid Dream

I had a really vivid lucid dream the other night that is a great metaphor for some things, so I wanted to share it.

In the dream, I’m inside this massive mansion or palace with a huge group of people, all dressed in beautiful clothes, and in one large room there is piled a huge amount of food, but it’s all rancid and bad. I vividly remember entire smoked carcasses of animals, giant piles of vegetables and fruit, and elaborate desserts, but it was all putrid. And everyone was eating it like the rotten foods were rare delicacies and the best of the best. And then they’d go into other rooms and throw up, and then eventually come back to the tables and dine again. And I can remember the smell of the throw up and being aware at that point that I was dreaming, and I was partially aware of being in bed simultaneously. So when I realize it was all a dream, I suddenly burst out of the closed-in areas and find myself outside on a large semi-circle balcony overlooking a lush forest, teeming with freshness and life and everything that everyone in the party would need to survive and thrive and be healthy. And even though I was a couple of stories up, I knew I could easily go over the balcony edge, shimmy down some vines, and be in that forest, free. But I also knew that I couldn’t leave everyone to the fate of being inside that mansion, so I went back inside and started to attempt to convince everyone, anyone that they could go outside anytime they wanted to, that the fresh air would do them good, and no one would listen. But I remember thinking that the effort was worthwhile anyway. Then I woke up.

The dream has given me a lot to think about the past couple of days. About society, about our choices, about our abilities to control what surrounds us. It also made me think about the movie Zardoz. Have any of you seen it? “Penises are bad, guns are good.” It is, without a doubt, a ridiculous 1970’s film, but I feel like you need to watch this at least 3 times. The first time, you ask yourself what the hell it was you just watched. The second time (hopefully several years later to cleanse the palate), you acknowledge that there was a lot of interesting social commentary interspersed amidst the madness, and upon the third viewing (again with a few years in between), you realize that the director was brilliant and so many things open up. At least, that’s how it worked for me. And why did I watch it multiple times? Someone bought my husband the DVD in undergrad as a joke and I like to throw movies on when I hand sew and paint sometimes, and I cycle through ones we already own because in theory they are easier to just have on as background noise. Besides, how could I resist watching Sean Connery dressed like this? ::snicker::

zardoz_zed

Anyway, moral of the dream – we don’t have to stay at a crappy party that is making us sick and pretend we love it. We can leave and have fresh abundance. But we all have to decide to stop playing the game together.