March 18, 2017

Reflecting on love and action

Welcome! It's a long game and the resistance needs all of you.

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R3 for week 8 ending March 17, 2017

Revel (something celebratory from the past week :: to maintain a sense of accomplishment and gratitude)

There will always be something to celebrate.

Of course THIS
45’s revised Muslim ban executive order was blocked before taking effect! It’s been blocked nationwide by two federal judges so far. The administration may choose to appeal, but it would go before the same appeals court that ruled against version 1.

And also this
The Republican health care replacement appears to be on life support. 45 is trying to distance himself, putting it on Paul Ryan, so let’s keep calling it Trumpcare. It’s been said that a failure of this magnitude could prove devastating to the Administration and presidency.

Bernie Sanders had an incredible meeting with 45-supporters in a solid red zone, at which he met agreement on climate change, healthcare and the future of jobs. The Senator seemed to convince more than a few that Trumpcare will not help them.

And elsewhere
The Netherlands saw its highest voter turnout in 30 years for parliamentary elections, in which populists lost bigly to the ruling party. Some have said that this election might hint at the direction of upcoming elections in France and Germany. This losing candidate has been dragging Dutch politics to the right for years, however, so continued vigilance is needed.


Reflect (something big picture to ponder :: to keep our eyes on the prize and remember why we resist)

We need to Reflect on love.

“Love is perhaps the most difficult task given us, the most extreme, the final proof and text, for which all other work is only preparation.” ---Rainer Maria Rilke

The hate spewed by some Congressmen this week has me reeling. The sickening lack of concern for even the most vulnerable - in statements that children and elderly in our communities need not be fed; that culture is unimportant to the poor; that anyone unable to afford basic needs deserves none - has been difficult to stomach. This Administration’s greed is continually shown in its proposals to redirect government funds toward personal enrichment and the donor class.

The Resistance is about compassion. It is expansive and inclusive, supportive and protective, and it will prove the greater and stronger force. The people hold the power. We can wield it intentionally to effect change.

How do we counteract the hate? By uncovering the motives behind these actions in order to block them most effectively. By highlighting the potential consequences in order to break through the lies. Many 45 supporters are becoming disenfranchised and may listen. A growing number of Republicans in office appear to be shifting away from the Administration and may listen. Millions who did not vote are listening. We find a convincing commonality via love of country, and remember the important goal of un-seating Republicans.

Where is the love in suggesting that we separate asylum-seeking children from their parents at the border? Republicans tried to sugarcoat this heartbreaking idea but it is bereft; UNICEF calls it “inhumane”. Also, new deportation directives already have immigrants being picked up right out of their lives, often parents in front of their children. The fear alone... Our government is intentionally traumatizing children.

What is the true motive? Who profits? Should we look to the companies that house detainees. Construction of new facilities? Contracts to run them? And what sort of appeal might raise opposition within the ranks? The children.

“Children… will do anything for people they trust and whose opinion they value. But if they feel abandoned, worthless, or invisible, nothing seems to matter. Fear destroys curiosity and playfulness. In order to have a healthy society we must raise children who can safely play and learn. There can be no growth without curiosity and no adaptability without being able to explore, through trial and error, who you are and what matters to you.” --Bessel Van der Kolk, psychiatrist and PTSD researcher

We need only look around the world to see where this could lead. Save the Children has released a report highlighting the need for costly psychological support for refugee children in the coming years.

* And what happens when their despair turns to anger as they grow up? Where might they direct that anger?

Where is the love in turning a blind eye to what the entire world has accepted about our planet? In halting research and development into solutions that can safely take us into the future? In gutting pollution standards and environmental protections? In eviscerating the EPA?

The nonsensical support of dirty energy industries in the wake of so many innovations again makes clear the Administration’s short-term profit motive. Embracing this challenge instead would lead to both financial returns and international leadership. Energy innovation is happening elsewhere around the world. The consequences of stepping away from the table will be significant: half of our post-WW2 economic growth has come from scientific and technological advances.

* Denying science will eliminate jobs and destroy future technological, biomedical, energy profits.

Where is the love in refusing vast numbers of our own people basic health care and other supports? This Administration would deny health care to tens of millions, increase costs for those most financially vulnerable, and remove access to women’s health care, addiction treatment programs and other widely used supports. The motive yet again: money. The plan redirects money to the wealthy via tax cuts, and to insurers and pharmaceutical company leaders via increased fees. It is a plan to -

“shift and shaft – shift the cost and shaft the people who need coverage the most” --Senator Angus King Jr. (I-ME)

Consequences of these various policies of exclusion are far-reaching. In stripping away things like health care, reduced-cost internet access, food and heating subsidies, and protections that ensure clean water and air, the Administration will marginalize large groups of Americans.

* These actions will directly impact many who supported 45.

And of course,
There is no compassion in the proposed budget. While flaunting his lavish lifestyle, at enormous taxpayer expense, 45 seeks to eliminate the most caring programs, including meals for impoverished children and elderly. In heartless statements about these cuts, the Administration shows a stunning ignorance of real life in this country. We have the highest poverty rate among all advanced nations. One in 5 American children live in poverty. These cuts are set forth alongside more tax cuts for the wealthy. Alongside another increase in military spending that is already higher than that of the next 7 countries. Calling it "Robin Hood in reverse" is no joke.

* Ignoring the potential of so many people will irreparably damage our country’s future - economic, social, cultural, political - in myriad unknown ways.

The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members.” --Mahatma Gandhi

Let us shine light on these abhorrent actions and work together to protect our country from the consequences. Speak, write, discuss, convince:

"Light goes straight to the soul." --Naricissus Quagliata, artist


Recharge (a technique to help you energize and focus for the week ahead :: "self care" and creative resistance

Remember that we are many, witnessing and acting and sharing strength. Things are being dismantled, but we will rebuild them. A shift has begun - away from the Administration. Our actions are helping to bring about conversations and conversions. Delays and deliberations. This movement is not stagnant and your actions are making a difference.

When you are weary, please step away for awhile. Tell someone - the act of naming feelings is itself rejuvenating. Rest, physically and mentally.

Strengthening attention and focus helps us overcome stress and burnout. I mentioned rituals last week because they can be powerful tools in reinforcing behaviors we want to continue. They can also help build mental stamina, which we'll certainly need.

A ritual is simply a sequence of actions performed deliberately, in a certain order, often at a particular time or in a specific place. There are many recognizable examples, from the way a basketball player sets up each jump shot to the most elaborate and precise Japanese tea ceremony. They do have power.

“When tea becomes a ritual, it takes its place at the heart of our ability to see greatness in small things.” --Muriel Barbery, author

Rituals may seem mysterious but are used quite often. Studies show improved performance by the many athletes practicing them in sports. You may be using rituals without realizing it, since performed mindlessly they become just another habit. Purposely following a ritual, on the other hand, reminds us to appreciate and focus on what we are about to do. Elevating what may seem to be a mundane activity encourages us to take it more seriously, feel more personally involved and find it more rewarding. When this happens we’re more likely to enjoy and thus continue the activity.

“Rituals help us enjoy the ride, not only the destination.”

Performing a ritual is a conscious action, and so it forces us to be present, to bring our attention and focus to this moment. Rituals offer another way to cultivate mindfulness throughout our days.

Rituals also may:

  • Reduce anxiety by involving calming actions
  • Remove uncertainty as we follow a prescribed order of known actions
  • Increase confidence through repetition
  • Strengthen patience and concentration
  • Allow us opportunities to remind ourselves of our values and purpose
  • Offer beauty and reverence
  • Help activities not become chores

If your Resistance work is becoming tedious, consider creating a simple enjoyable ritual around it. You might involve a friend or partner (in person, by phone, online); sharing accountability and inspiration is also powerful motivation.

There is no strict formula, but your ritual should be different enough that it stands out to you. It might be as simple as pausing deliberately to mark the moment and then naming your intention or expectations, or stating a personal affirmation, aloud or inwardly before taking an action.

You might place a few meaningful objects nearby for subtle positivity or beauty.

In ritualizing a more involved activity, you might include additional steps - lighting a candle, reading a poem, holding a special object, looking at a meaningful photograph, taking a few deep breaths with your eyes closed.

Other possible components:
Favorite objects
Music or sound
Candle or fire
Food or drink
A special place
Specific words
Movement or gestures

Some rituals also incorporate a “closing” step, such as expressing gratitude or a short breathing sequence.

Yes, rituals require time and energy. We tend to undervalue them and end up dropping them from our rushed lives. Given the many benefits, this is a mistake.



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