Dear US Senator, (An Open Letter)

How fast would you fire a teacher who told your kid to drink bleach?

I’m contacting you to let you know that Trump’s action in the White House are reprehensible and unacceptable. We the people, want to fire him as soon as possible. That means that EVERY state in the US needs to have a VOTE-BY-MAIL option by November 3, 2020 so that American Citizens can vote him out of office.

Bottom line, we need to #FireTrump now. The Election is Tue. Nov. 3rd. We need VOTE-BY-MAIL in all 50 states. Pre-emptively, let’s discuss the “Fraud Argument” often brought up by Republicans to DISENFRANCHISE PEOPLE OF COLOR from our right to vote. Senator, we the people are smart enough to figure out how to have a valid and fair election. Just in case, here are my considered solutions:

  1. Countless US Citizens Abroad have voted with the Absentee Ballot from overseas and military bases for decades. through Absentee Voting. We’ve never had a problem. We know it works.
  2. Perform an accurate 2020 Census. If you want to know how many citizens there are in each county, COUNT US ALL in the 2020 Census. After that, you can stop counting votes when they hit that magic number.
  3. Create a new VOTE-BY-MAIL option for November 3, 2020. This requires we keep the United States Postal Service (USPS) open for business. Trump is already trying to shut the USPS, the most egalitarian institution the American people have.
  4. A VOTE-BY-MAIL option is Russia and cyber-tampering proof.

Fascism, Racism, hate-mongering and blatant stupidity are unacceptable methods of running the United States of America. The world is watching us. We are failing our children. WE THE PEOPLE, DEMAND ALL SENATORS WORK TOGETHER TO ENSURE A VALID, FAIR ELECTION NOVEMBER 3, 2020. Get to work. We deserve better.

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Demanding Democracy,

All US Citizens

Make History Nov 3rd, 2020 with a Vote-By-Mail Election!

It’s clear by now, to most of us, that we will not be back to normal right away. COVID-19 is still highly contagious and has two known mutations so far. That means long-term planning for civic partition is necessary. I don’t care what your political leaning is, WE  NEED A NATIONAL VOTE-BY-MAIL BALLOT IN ALL 50 STATES.

The time to organize this is now. We will not be able to vote without it. I’ve been voting by mail since 2003, when I lived overseas for two years. The Russians will have a very hard time tampering with the United States Post Office. Here is how we get this done:

  1. Contact all 100 US Senators. Demand the VOTE-BY-MAIL BALLOT IN ALL 50 STATES, Nov. 3rd, 2020. (https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm)
  2. Contact all our mand US Congressional Representatives. Demand the VOTE-BY-MAIL BALLOT IN ALL 50 STATES. (https://www.house.gov/representatives)
  3. Call relative in other states, make sure they Register to VOTE.
  4. Call relative in other states, make sure they also call their representatives to demand the VOTE-BY-MAIL BALLOT IN ALL 50 STATES.
  5. Keep the USPS open so we cast our ballots. Trump is trying to close the United States Post Office. That is the only way to keep your vote.

Exercise your right to vote. Organize NOW to make history Nov. 3rd, 2020. Our lives depend on it.

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Let’s Face It: Everything Is Political

Can we talk about politics on Karma Compass blog? I say, Heck, yeah! I know we have probably many difference in how we see the world, but hopefully we can agree on a few basic things. Everyone, no matter their gender, political leaning or socioeconomic class should be able to vote without encumbrances to the ballot. Can we agree on that?

Now, I have my own convictions. I know what I want, and know when I want it and I know why I want it. I’ve come to recognize this as an extraordinary gift. So many people don’t know what they want. They can never get it, they can never articulate  or visualize the thing they want. Not I. I pretty much move to my win, in almost any situation, as early as possible. The factors for consideration include:

  • Gratification: delayed and or immediate
  • Motivation: Personal, familial and or societal necessity
  • Agency: capacity, skills and ability
  • Values: meaning, impact and intent
  • Information: Do I have enough to make a good choice?

Taken together a priority will emerge. Some items on my list need not be employed. Others must constantly be assessed, like values in a professional setting.

Once you weigh out your options, perhaps making a list and contemplating important decisions, you choose. Once you identify and name your win, you can work to get it.

My biggest win these days, is getting a new president. I’m tired of his lies. I dislike his careless disregard for children and sexism. His anti-immigrant rhetoric fills me with rage, and his incompetent mishandling of the Coronavirus pandemic further solidifies his lack of humanity, compassion and generosity. That is why I want to have him replaced. But, it’s not enough to know what you don’t want, you have to name the thing you want.

I want to see Joe Biden and maybe someone like Michelle Obama or another whip-smart woman of color as vice president this year, as soon as possible. I want doctors and scientists to find a vaccine for Covid19, as well as the education of all children in the US, which requires a proper census. My dreams are political. I want to transform society.

 

Ten Great Books to Take Your Mind Off COVID-19

Don’t you love a good book? Whether you bathe in the bloody world of bigotry and vampires with Octavia Butler, explore a new practice, books have it all. There are too many books to love and this list is designed to distract, absorb and focus your attention. Well-written and fun, provocative and insightful, here’s a short list for your COVID-19 stay at home.

A Confederacy of Dunces by the tragic John Kennedy Toole, who won the Pulitzer Prize. You’ll laugh so hard you’ll need some of the extra toilet paper you’ve been stockpiling.

IMG_5656Reminiscent of current times, the hero of this enthralling historical fiction, survives the plague and goes on to bust the ultimate glass ceiling: Catholic Pope. Pope Joan, exquisitely takes you through the middle ages, making you grateful for modern sexism. I’ll leave it to you to decide whether the events of Donna Woolfolk Cross’ page-turner really happened.

In the Land of White Death: An Epic Story of Survival in the Siberian Arctic is the true adventures of Valerian Albanov’s unintentional arctic quest. That he survives the impossible journey on a scale unimaginable to most of us is made sweetly harrowing by Russian officer’s beautiful prose, written in his dairy and saved for posterity.

Ann-Marie MacDonald’s Fall On Your Knees will  first break, then break open, then re-break your heart open. This laugh, cry, turn-the-page novel describes the personal costs of being a transitional character.

Jack Kornfield’s guide to mindfulness offers up small meditations in his workbook The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness and Peace. This time of self-isolation can be turned into the space for self-reflection, healing and growth.

Become an expert of the undertakings of underworld with Anne Rice’s juicy and irreverent read: The Vampire Lestat. This fast-paced is speculative fiction at its most delicious. So loud, sexy and powerful, you may want to read the entire series and then watch the movies afterward.

Katherine Dunn’s weird and wild masterpiece of creation looks at how social insulation can lead to annihilation. From start to finish, Geek Love is the brutal story and definition of “toxic family”. Home-spun freak carnival is the backdrop for this home-grown American fiction about a transient family making their own sideshows attractions to survive.

Audre Lorde’s timeless essay collection Sister Outsider still proves relevant in the Me-Too era and the current surge of xenophobia and strife we’re experiencing. Lorde’s wisdom continues to be a balm for souls who hunger for impassioned prose funded by hunger for social-justice.

Witty and sleek, The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov brings a fresh take on an old Faustian tale. It’s a short book, but vivacious, smart and

Beloved by our Toni Morrison—poetry, prose, history, magic realism wound tight with collective social-historical memory. You can spend time with our beloved you get ahold of the audio recording read by Morrison herself. t Pulitzer?

If you still looking for something else to read, try my essay about social-justice warrior Ernestine Rose in Fierce: Essays by and about Dauntless Women, edited by Karyn Kloumann. This anthology of 13 brilliant essays earned us a spot in the non-fiction finals for BookLife where we’ve earned 10 /10 in every category so far.

Soup from the Pantry: Yummy at Home

Start by dicing two medium-sized potatoes. Boil them in enough water to cover them for 15-20 minutes, until tender. Add a carrot toward the end with a cup or vegetable or chicken broth. Add any veggies you may have around. (We added some roasted sweet potato.) Finally, add a can or two of Chicken with Wild Rice soup and heat. Serve hot for a quick and easy meal any day of the week.

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Stay safe, Friends.

What the Body Remembers: Healing Somatic Muscle Memory

It’s important to learn where the pain started. My foot pain started rather suddenly five years ago, and progressed quickly into an acutely debilitating ailment. Not only was the pain sharp, it had no precipitating event that I could discern. That began a long journey into medical care, acupuncture and loss of mobility. Later I learned that part of my pain was psychic, and triggered by profound imminent loss.  After the loss, the gradual return of functionality has been punctuated with frequent pain similar to the early onset. Could it be that my body remembers this pain?

Looking at diagrams of human feet requires lengthy focused sessions, wherein I read the descriptions and try to match what I see in the textbook to my own unique female body. We are not all the same. We must allow for individual genetics, physicality and gender to inform what and how we see. I invite intuition to guide my educated guesses–willing to cross an option off the list. “Don’t get attached to the results,” I tell myself.

The foot has numerous bones, 26 altogether. Ligaments, tendons and muscles bind bone and nerve. The two hold up our entire body. Finally after hours of sifting through information, a story begins to emerge. I see clearly the pathway of the inferior and superior peroneal retinaculum that sheaths the peroneus brevis muscle that pulses red hot like embers during and after a walk. The tibiocalcaneal ligament evokes my sympathy when I see it on the page. I make a note of that. I’m not sure, yet, but this is important. I’m beginning to understand where the pain resides. Understanding will allow me to focus healing attention to the areas in need.

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In between, I’m determined to move, run and walk mindfully as I heal. I know that in the mornings, my pain is the memory of something: When my sister died and was torn from me in a particularly savage way? Is it the familiar signal the body sends like a cue from the bladder? Is my pain a signal broken on the “on” position? For now, I’m holding firm to my intention to heal myself, knowing that part of this experience is somatic, another physical. I pray to release any spent energies from my emotional, physical and spirituals bodies–to let go of whatever I can. I touch the area gently with Reiki and salve, creating new memories for these places within. There is no fix. There is only the journey inward toward wholeness.

 

Hal’s Sourdough Lemon Pancakes Are Yummy at Home! Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner

Seriously good, and crazy inventive, you make your own starter on top of your fridge with flour and water. You let the yeast find you. After a week of feeding the beast, you’re ready to make pancakes.

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Hal added two eggs, lemon zest, baking soda and baking powder and almond milk to the sourdough. we grabbed all the fresh fruit we could find. Nothing makes me happy like Hal’s pancakes for dinner.

 

Pair your pancakes with syrup, lemon curd, yogurt or whipped cream. Whatever you decide, it will be yummy at your home. Stay safe. There’s still no cure for Covid19.

What Kind of Teacher Are You?

I was a teacher for many years. I’ve worked with nearly age group, from infants with diapers to elders in my English classroom. As any teacher will tell you, teaching is its own set of rewards, gifts and teachers. You want to learn to do something well? Teach someone else how to do it. Teaching requires you to find the words, the tone, the language and knowledge necessary to even begin to impart it. That is why I’m grateful for teachers. I mean all the teachers, no matter grade you teach, how much money you make or whether your students will ever hug you. Thank you.

In one way or another we’re all teachers. We even learn unintentionally from contexts and outcomes of the situation. What kind of teacher are you? I’ve had all kinds of teachers over the years, but no matter who my pupil may be, my philosophy is to tell the truth. That means sometimes letting a person know when things are done well and merit celebration, or when it’s done poorly–so called negative feedback–and needs redoing. Both are important truths.

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When an adult speaks truth to a child, it’s every bit as important as a husband to a spouse. It builds trust. Over time, the lesson will solidify and reveal it worth. Truth-telling is a source of liberation; speaking the truth with the right words to open understanding, using a tone that conveys love, while holding high expectations is a gift.  This kind of attention, what I call a loving gaze upon the pupil, used to benefit the student by correcting behavior in order to allow for personal empowerment. The loving gaze is humanizes the personal and intimate relationship between teacher and student. In this context a powerful bond can form. It is the opposite of othering.

It’s critical for my student to understand a valuable mistake for a time when the stakes of failure may be high. The student must first trust me to be open to my lesson. This also gives her the ability to choose her path, armed with the knowledge and feedback necessary to make a choice. Also, telling the truth means that I will have to look them in their eye and tell them, “You can do better” with love, respect and confidence, knowing the compassion behind my words. It’s possible to tell him what he needs to know to overcome his weakness without breaking his spirit or his back. It’s the kind of teacher I’ve always valued and want to be. And relationship permits, even creates, a dynamic wherein the pupil may also challenge and correct the teacher. This leads to growth for everyone.

One thing I’m sure of, however, is that I will speak the truth with love and compassion IMG_5841until I’m gone from this earth. That’s my pedagogy. This is my gift. And if over the years, I’ve stepped on your foot, forgive me. I’m still learning. I was not raised in a gentle world. I’m quite fortunate to have a great pair of new teachers: My preadolescent niece and nephew. They’re teaching some of the lessons of the heart. As I brave this newly forming world, I armed only with my truth, ready to learn.