Wednesday, January 12, 2011

This is how we love one another.

The citizens and students of Tucson have shown us all how it is done.

They came together to bless and lovingly release those who died in the tragedy last Saturday.  They came together to celebrate the healing that is taking place in those wounded, especially Gabby, who for the first time opened her eyes immediately following a brief visit by President Obama!

The love was palpable.  It demonstrated how to process a difficult time without judgment or finger pointing.

Thank you, Tucson, for showing us how it is done!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Words Have Consequences!

Tucson, Arizona, Saturday, January 8, 2011—It has happened again.  A deranged young man apparently upset with the political views of his representative in Congress, Gabrielle Giffords, shot and seriously wounded her.  Others were killed and wounded.  Anyone who has listened to the radio, watched TV or read a newspaper already knows these preliminary facts.  The “usual” responses by friends, associates and commentators are flooding the communications environment.

I should be angry.  I am far beyond anger.  I am in despair.  I am NOT surprised that this happened, and I don’t believe most of you are either.  Given the incredible lack of sensitivity in the rhetoric to which we are now exposed minute by minute and the disregard for the potential consequences of our words, how could we not expect that such a tragedy would happen?  It has happened before too many times.

When you have such prominent persons as Sarah Palin “tweeting” with images of the crosshairs of a gun sight placed over the locations of politicians whose positions she disagrees with, you are suggesting an action of violence, whether intended or not.  When you have a candidate for the U.S. Senate suggest that “Second Amendment remedies” may be needed if certain politicians do not do as they are told to do, again, violence is the “subtle” suggestion.

When this tragedy was broadcast one of the first things I thought about was an essay I wrote in April of 2009 at the tenth anniversary of the Columbine High School shootings.  The article, “High Noon At the OK Corral,” took issue with the notion that guns had become the tools for dealing with our anger toward persons, policies or actions we did not like.  (The gunfight took place in Tombstone, AZ.)  It was of interest to me that the article alerted government sites that apparently track potential terrorist activity.  Our government knows there is a high level of anxiety and anger brewing in our population.

In an interview, one Arizona Senator said it was “incomprehensible” that such action could happen.  It is my strong opinion that it is NOT incomprehensible that people will do stupid things if they are constantly urged to bear arms, rail against people with whom they disagree and ultimately shoot and kill them!  Why are we surprised?  There are many things we can point to as the causes and all of them contribute some part of whole picture.  In the final analysis, for me, the problem is that we have utterly lost our ability to respect the differences of opinion that exist.  We have become so used to immediate awareness of conditions—via the Internet, TV, and radio—that we also expect immediate resolutions.  And we expect those resolutions to be according to our priorities.  Good heavens!  Are we such spoiled children that we have to have our way about everything?  Is there no room for considering the value of the contributions of others?

What is said by talk show hosts, news networks and demi-gods who present themselves as all-knowing prophets, leads to consequences for which few of them will think they have any responsibility.  It should be abundantly clear by now that the constant, bitter rhetoric is giving some individuals approval to do stupid, harmful things.

Words have consequences!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Looking Back - Looking Ahead

Those of you who have read my blog over the years know that I have written about the journals I have kept for many years.  On several occasions I have considered that it might be time to let them go—to the shredder!  Up until now I have deferred doing that.  For some reason this New Year seems to be the time to finally let go of my past.  Only someone who keeps or has kept a journal will understand the emotional impact such a separation might bring about.

When I think of the years of dream records, daily thoughts about the challenges and joys of some event, or the records of many hours of altered state transcripts enjoyed with select friends, it is sobering to think of letting them go.  Then, I realized that I am only letting go of the paper and the tapes.  The experiences and the friendships with those who participated in those years of my life are forever with me.  I finally have come to believe that the paper record does not represent my real life.

Well, at least that is how I felt a month ago before I actually started going through these records.  I had hardly begun with one of the last hand written journals for 1982-85 when suddenly a word or a person’s name would jump off the page to my sight.  That led to reading in both directions, backward and forward, to take in the context.  It doesn’t take a genius to realize this was not going to be the easy task I first thought.

Would it really make a difference if I just trashed the journals without scanning any of the pages?  Probably not.  But the fact that my attention was caught and I found the reading rewarding tells me it may be important to have those last looks back before continuing my journey forward.

After I began using a computer regularly, somewhere around 1991, my journals were in electronic word files.  When it comes to deleting these, highlight, hit delete, and it’s all over!  I can get rid of ten years of near daily journals in seconds!  And I did!  That is simply too much reading.  Besides, I bought two huge historical books I wanted to read and that seemed a more important use of my time.

Now it is the New Year and I have once again pulled the box of journals out of the closet and will try again to let go of the past.  One lingering thought about the past:  At my age the past is subject to “selective” memory; that is I may remember it differently than it actually was.  In that case, if it were important I could compare what I remember with what I wrote.  But then, who else beside me could possibly care?  I don’t expect to be conversing with anyone about things that happened forty years ago.

In the final analysis the reason I considered trashing the journals in the first place was because I felt finished with those past years.  As I finally got through the last notebooks there were some things I really felt I wanted to review in greater detail.  These were the transcripts of over 100 altered state sessions I had done with a small group of associates.  While most of the sessions were rather ordinary, there were some that I felt at the time may be important.  In the end I have three notebooks covering several years of sessions that I have put aside for further review.

One note from a friend that I came across I want to share with you.  It was important to me at the time and I found it still carried a warm message.

When we get 
bogged down
and upset with
all the everyday problems,
we don’t have the
energy left
to enjoy the truly
important things—
such as our
You have made me
 realize that things
are not nearly as
devastating as they
may appear at
the moment.
You have given
me the power
to love.

--Susan Polis Schutz

The dreams and the diaries have been released.  My friends, I am moving on. The past is past, but the love lasts forever!