Last night, Sreejit posted the summary of his Rage Against the Machine event. He did it in a new way in that for each post he included a quote and one of the comments that a reader made. I think that is a valuable way to help new readers choose which posts to look at, so I’m passing his summary on to those of you who read my blog.
We made it. 30 guest posts in 30 days.
As you may have noticed, the Rage Against the Machine series was not so much about rage as it was about figuring out how we can be productive global citizens, and what we can do as individuals and collectively to make this world a better place.
Everyone brought different perspectives – including the ever present To Rage or Not to Rage question – and different issues to the series. One of the most pleasant surprises was that not only were the guest posts exceptional, of which I’m grateful, but we had a lot of interesting discussions in the comment section.
So, to recap the articles that you might have missed, or to remind you and encourage a second look, I will share both a snippet from each article and also one comment from the discussion, to give you a taste of…
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At 5:00 a.m. this morning, the last entry in The Seeker’s Dungeon Rage Against the Machine Month was posted. The posts by 30 guest contributors were all so different from one another and each person had important things to say. I looked forward to reading a new post each morning and am sorry the event is over.
Some of the event instructions were:
Your post doesn’t have to be about the United States or even politics, but should be about what is keeping our world in darkness and your own solutions for shedding light. Talk about where your own passions lie, your own causes, and the glass ceilings you are trying to break on through.
I’ve listed all of the posts below so that you can read some or all of them. I suspect you will find them as thought provoking as I did.
The Rage Against the Machine Contributors:
Day 11: Earth Grief by Sherry Marr
Day 12: Searching by Oliana Kim
Day 14: The Hip Woman by Ana Daksina
Day 15: On Being a Lady by Kripa Gressel
Day 17: I don’t understand… by Amy
Day 20: #BeKindToElephants by Monika
Day 21: Finding A Way by Bertie Hutchins
Day 22: Fated by Rebel Willing
Day 26: Coming Out by Elmari W.
Day 27: What Sort of Men by Gary Maxwell
Day 27: Just One Word by Sonya Kassam
Day 29: Rectitude by Tobe
My contribution to Sreejit’s new event was posted today. I called it Creating Light in the Darkness. You can find it at:
I thought the first two articles in his series were excellent.
I hope you will go to The Seeker’s Dungeon and read my post… and consider reading all three of them… and maybe even those that he posts throughout the month of November!
Some of you may want to write and submit a post of your own. You are welcome to do that. Here is part of the event description:
Your post doesn’t have to be about the United States or even politics, but should be about what is keeping our world in darkness and your own solutions for shedding light. Talk about where your own passions lie, your own causes, and the glass ceilings you are trying to break on through. Your essay should be between 800 and 5000 words.
You can learn more about the event Here.
Sreejit, from The Seeker’s Dungeon, is offering a series of Guest Posts during the month of November. Writers will be sharing their opinions about what is keeping our world in darkness and their ways of moving towards the light.
I will be participating and thought that some of those who read my blog might be interested in writing for the event as well. You are welcome to submit a post whether you are a blogger or a non-blogger; liberal or conservative; religious or non religious, interested in politics or not; from the United States or anywhere else in the world. In other words, everyone is encouraged to participate.
Here are the details of the event:
To celebrate one year since the election of arguably the worst president in the history of the United States, the month of November will be Rage Against the Machine Month here at The Seeker’s Dungeon. The entire month will be guest posts on topics about how we should or could be doing better. Rage here shouldn’t be misconstrued as hate speech, but rather as passion speech – passion for life, passion for equality, passion for humanity, passion for the environment. I won’t be posting any hate, so don’t bother submitting it – strongly defined passions, however, I will certainly post. Keep in mind that you don’t have to agree with me, or my own unabashedly liberal agenda or worldview, but also understand that I don’t moderate the comment section. I’m not interested in creating a platform for exciting violence, but calling it out. In the comment section I allow people to represent themselves.
Your post doesn’t have to be about the United States or even politics, but should be about what is keeping our world in darkness and your own solutions for shedding light. Talk about where your own passions lie, your own causes, and the glass ceilings you are trying to break on through. Your essay should be between 800 and 5000 words. You can send them to email@example.com and write Rage Post in the subject line. Please include a header image, a profile picture and a short bio, along with your blog address, or whichever other form of social media that you would like your name to link to. Also, be sure to edit your submission before sending it. I’m eager to hear what you all have to say, so let’s say it well.
To see the Guest Posts from Sreejit’s past events click here.
I hope to see you in the Dungeon!
I am not a sightseer. I haven’t liked sightseeing for as long as I can remember. That attitude was firmly entrenched by the time I was in 10th grade and we lived in Hawaii. There, my brothers and I were expected to go sightseeing with my parents every Sunday. I’m sure I moaned and groaned and pouted.
During our year in Hawaii, I remember resenting that I couldn’t run away from home. I knew if I made it past the guard at the gate of the army base where we lived, it wouldn’t do me any good because we were living on an island. I’d never be able to find a way off the island. Continue reading “I Am Not a Sightseer”
Sreejit’s directions for this week’s Dungeon Prompt were:
If the journey of your life could be boiled down to a particular mission, what would it be? What has been the primary focus or purpose of your particular birth? You may believe that all of life is on a big picture path, but I’m asking about your particular journey. Is there any lesson or goal that has defined the majority of your life? What is your life’s mission?
I once used the process that Stephen Covey described in his book First Things First to develop a personal mission statement. The document I created that day is as relevant and alive for me now as it was on the day I created it. (My mission statement can be found in this blog post: Living with Purpose.)
For this prompt, I decided to look at my life’s mission from a different angle. Throughout my adolescence and young adult years I believed that I didn’t “belong” anywhere. That belief developed, at least in part, because I grew up as an army brat. I generally moved every three years, and if I wasn’t leaving then my friends were. No place or group felt like “home,” I always believed I was an outsider. Continue reading “A Bridge Between Worlds”
Frequently, when I reflect on Sreejit’s Dungeon Prompt for the week, I end up writing about something very different than what I had originally intended to write about. This week was no exception. The topic was “Where the Wild Things Are” and the directions for the prompt were:
Tell us all about one of the more wilder things you’ve done in your life that looks a little out of place when put up next to the rest of your life’s journey. Or take it in another direction and tell us about your monsters, or demons.
Initially, I intended to write about my early days with Amma. As the deadline approached, however, I realized that there were many other times in my life when I did things that other people might consider “Wild” or perhaps “Strange.” I decided I would share some vignettes of those memories. Continue reading “Where the Wild Things Are”
Sreejit, as always, picked an interesting Dungeon Prompt for this week; one worthy of considerable contemplation. His instructions:
Which truth do you hold no matter the time or place? This isn’t a prompt about whether you believe in God or not, or in science or not. This is a morality question. For example, most of us can say that we believe in the commandment, thou shalt not kill, regardless of religion, but would you be able to stick with that even while witnessing your mother or sister being raped? Would you feel that it was wrong if another person, in that kind of situation, killed an attacker to save someone else? So the question here is, which of your values do you hold so strongly that it wouldn’t matter the time or place? Explain.
I did my personal therapy with therapists who used a process known as corrective parenting psychotherapy. When I finished my therapy, I decided I wanted to become a therapist. After obtaining the necessary education, I chose to do the same kind of therapy with my clients.
All corrective parenting therapists and their clients use a set of six self-care contracts as guiding principles in their lives. The contracts are:
- I will not hurt myself or others nor provoke/allow others to harm me. I will stay safe and honor the safety of others
- I will not run away. I will stay and work through my problems.
- I will not be sneaky or lie. I will be honest with myself and others.
- I will not make myself sick or go crazy. I will stay sane and healthy.
- I will not be passive. I will be proactive.
- I am responsible for my feelings, thoughts, actions and attitudes.
There is no expectation that anyone will keep these contracts perfectly. In fact, if we look closely, we probably break one or more of them every day. By using them as guiding principles, however, we learn to become conscious of our actions. When we break one of the contracts, we look at how and why we broke it and determine what we will do to prevent ourselves from breaking it again.
I still place great value on these principles, but since I have no expectation that I will keep them perfectly it would not fit into the “no matter time nor place” criteria.
Since Sreejit mentioned the Ten Commandments that God gave to Moses, I decided to take a look at those. They are:
- Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.
- Thou shalt not make any graven idols.
- Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
- Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
- Honor your father and your mother.
- Thou shalt not kill.
- Thou shalt not commit adultery.
- Thou shalt not steal.
- Thou shalt not bear false witness against your neighbor
- Thou shalt not covet.
I found it interesting to reflect on the list. Some I have broken at some point in my life either overtly or subtly, intentionally or unintentionally (3, 5, 8, 9, 10). I know there are people who would believe I have broken two others, although I would disagree with that opinion (1,2). One of the ten I have broken because it is not part of my belief system (4). There are two I have not broken and can’t imagine ever breaking (6, 7). When I ask myself if I would I kill in self defense or to save someone else, I conclude that I can’t answer the question without being in the situation. I don’t see myself as someone who would ever commit adultery, but I am always leary of saying “never” about anything. All in all, I see that I cannot give “no matter time nor place” status to the ten commandments either.
I place very high value on my path with my spiritual teacher Amma. However, I don’t do many of the spiritual practices that she instructs us to do and even though I may ask her questions about my individual practice or my life, I don’t ask her for advice unless I am willing to do what she suggests I do. I clearly am not committed at the level of “no matter time nor place” even though my process with Amma, in many ways, is the center of my life.
I place great value on my relationship with my children, Sreejit and Chaitanya. For the purposes of this prompt, I reflected on whether I would give my life if it would save theirs. I would like to think so, and I think in almost any circumstance I would, but after recently rereading the book 1984, I recognize that when tortured, a person can be made to betray even those whom they love the most. So, while I think that this would be the value I would most likely hold on to “no matter time nor place” I cannot even be sure of that.
So after much consideration, I have come to the conclusion that there is no value I hold that I can say, without a shred of doubt, that I would be 100% committed to regardless of the time or place. I wonder if it is possible for any human being to stay that committed to anything.
Sreejit’s direction for this week’s Dungeon Prompt is to “pick a quote from a famous person that best describes your life’s journey. The quote can be about the person that you’ve been up until now or the person that you are trying to become. Tell us about it. Use the quote as a springboard for letting us get a better glimpse of who you are.”
While my brother Bill would not have considered himself to be a famous person, nor would he be considered a famous person by the world, it was in a section of his journal that I found the quote that fits the most for me. Bill died at the age of 39. His words reflect some of the values that I held early in my life and during the last five to eight years have again become a major focus. The quote:
I am very sad that people seem to see so little of the world around them. I can’t walk outside without seeing the beauty of our created world, from the rainbow in a line of earthworm slime, to another visible ring on Jupiter. We have been given this magnificent world to study and enjoy in limitless detail at any level, microscopic to cosmic. Even though I have enough things to interest me another 10 lifetimes, I must take solace in knowing that, at least compared to others, I’ve had much more than my share even in half a life time. (William John Smith 1953-1992)
When I was a child, I was fascinated by butterflies. I am mortified now to think of the butterfly collection I had then. I caught butterflies with a net, used some chloroform type liquid to kill them and then mounted them on a display board. At the same time I feel grief about that, I recognize that we had a different way of thinking in the 50’s and that I had made the display out of my love and appreciation for butterflies.
I have memories of making forts in the forest when I was young, although I don’t remember where that was. It is possible that the “forest” was just my back yard, but I don’t think so. Being an army brat, we moved every three years. I have almost no memory of the places I lived or events that happened there.
I do remember an incident from the 4th grade when we were living in Germany. I had crawled under the schoolyard fence during recess so that I could collect snails in a box. When I came back into the schoolyard at the end of recess, I looked up the hill only to see my teacher and my mother, who also taught at the school, standing behind a railing watching me. I have no memory of what came next but I do remember getting “caught in the act”.
I know there was also a time during my school years when I had a microscope and loved using it. I enjoyed studying the biological sciences when I was working on my Bachelors of Science in Nursing degree from 1966 to 1970.
When Al and I first married, we bought a house three miles south of the center of Seattle. To me, it it felt like having a farm in the middle of the city. There was a pantry in the basement where I could store canned fruits and the house had an outdoor clothesline that operated by a pulley, going from the porch to a nearby tree. There were concord grape vines growing in the yard and I made grape jelly from the grapes. We purchased the lot behind our house and made a garden there.
Over the years, I stopped gardening. There were a few times I planted some vegetables but the trees grew so high that the backyard got very little sunlight. Besides, my life was filled with child-rearing, going to school and working multiple jobs. I didn’t start gardening again until Amma began to encourage us to grow organic vegetables at home. That was probably around 2010.
Over the next few years, I removed part of the grass from my front yard, so I could build a garden that would get some sun. I took out all of the grass three years ago. It is a small area, but now the whole front yard is a garden.
Next, I developed an interest in vermi-composting, a process by which red wiggler worms transform food scraps into high quality compost. The worms became my pets. I still love my worms. Other people have to find dog and cat sitters. When I go to India I have to find a worm sitter!
In March of 2014, I started blogging. The primary focus of my writing was about the process of learning life’s lessons. I wrote from both psychological and spiritual perspectives. Over the years, I started to use photographs on my blog and in time I started to focus on nature and nature photography… in addition to writing about learning life’s lessons.
I shared photos of flowers…
Soon I wanted to know more about these garden “pests.” I started reading about them and was amazed by what I learned. I shared that information in my blog posts. (The Symbiotic Relationship Between Ants and Aphids) (Slugs Underground) (The Fascinating Fruit Fly)
Several years ago, I remembered my fascination with my childhood microscope. I decided I would buy another one “someday.” One morning it occurred to me that I could add microscopic photography to my nature posts. I immediately purchased a microscope and adapter that connected it to my iPhone camera. I started taking and sharing microscopic photos.
In September of 2016, I woke up one morning thinking that I was not willing to watch one more tree die in the area of Seattle’s Greenbelt that is near my house. I took my shears and started cutting down the blackberry and ivy vines that had covered that land for 30-50 years. That day was the impetus for starting the GreenFriends Greenbelt Restoration Project that is now my passion.
Our GreenFriends group, aided by a neighbor and students from the Introduction to Environmental Science class at the University, the Green Seattle Partnership and the Seattle Parks Department began to clear the land. Once the invasive vines were removed, we dug out blackberry root balls, covered the cleared land with burlap to hold back weed growth and then put dried blackberry canes and other debris on top of the burlap. The debris and the burlap will disintegrate and enrich the soil. This fall we will plant 400 trees, shrubs and ground covers and will continue to plant until the land is once again a healthy forest.
Every day I work in the Greenbelt is filled with seeing wonders of nature, whether it be a fern, flower or tree whose will to live has been so strong that it has defied being buried under invasive plants for decades or whether it is watching the birds, butterflies and other creatures that are returning to the land. One day, a mole stuck its head out of the ground and looked at my friend Ananya who was sitting nearby.
My passion for nature that began as a child, went into the recesses of my mind for decades, is now back in full force. I feel grateful and blessed. I so appreciate that Bill’s words helped keep that part of me alive during the intervening years.
To read more of Bill’s life philosophy go to The Truth I Live By.
The photo at the top of this post is from pixabay.com.
Shared with Senior Salon