Fortezza, Umilitade, e Largo Core - Courage, Humility, and Largeness of Heart.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Torn over boycotting Chick-fil-A

I love the country we live in. I love the fact that my right to decent from the popular opinion is supported in our Constitution. I love that fact that I am able to vote with the power of my dollar by supporting organizations that I agree with philosophically. I also appreciate the fact that even those I disagree with are also able to vote with their dollar and support organizations they believe in. For example: I appreciate Home Depot. There are a lot of things that I don't agree with in regards to Home Depot: they support the Republican National Convention, they are blamed for driving the independent hardware store out of business. However, due to their size, they are able to help those in need when natural disaster strikes. They are also huge sponsors of the Georgia Aquarium. But returning to their support of the RNC- if I am able to support the political party of my choice, is it not fair that others are able to support the party of their choice? Home Depot is enacting an important right that we have in this country, one that we should not take for granted nor let atrophy.

So this leaves me torn. Which do I believe in more: our inherent right to support causes of our choice or the causes themselves? I do not like the idea of my money going, indirectly, to causes I am passionately against (such as homophobia). Yet, if I am to expect my right to support my causes, doesn't that mean that we should respect others' right to support their causes?

Chick-fil-A is getting a lot of attention recently. My liberal friends are calling for us all to boycott them. Once their views on marriage equality came to light, about a year ago, I significantly cut down on the business I gave them. I could give you a long, sob story as to why I did not cut them out cold turkey but it comes down to this: at least the revenue they received from me was markedly less.

Truth be told, this could be me justifying my continued patronizing of Chick-fil-A. Yet I am left with the question: if I want the freedom to support my causes, doesn't the reverse seem important? Chick-fil-A is engaging society, supporting causes they are passionate about, and inadvertently creating important dialogue. Does this call for an all-out boycott?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

An Interesting Observation

I've said it before and I will say it again: my personal views might be wrong. But something occurred to me while reading a status update from my friend Rev. Roger. He spoke of a former congregant who had been knotted up by hate- "hatred for gays, liberals, immigrants, and 'towel heads'," but after a painful divorce, the man was touched by Jesus and he allowed love into his heart. Roger noted the visible changes in the man. The man was kind to those he interacted with and seemed to be at greater peace.

When I think of those who are living in judgment of others, they are knotted up with hate. As I decide which role model to follow, am I going to follow in the footsteps of those twisted by hate or those who are at peace with the world surrounding them?

It seems to me that the proof is in the pudding and that love is the answer.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Thinking about Love and Heaven

I am a non-materialist. This is not to say that I have given away my possessions or even that I don't enjoy a good shopping spree. What I mean by the term is that I believe that everything is one, we are all interconnected energy, any separation is merely due to human perception. Those that know me know that I factitiously say that I don't believe in time or space, that they are merely human constructs, that the Universal Divine is beyond time and space. While I say it factitiously, there is truth to it.

We are all part of the Infinite, Universal Divine. What this means is that if I enact hate towards you, I am in truth hating myself. I strive towards enacting basileia in the Here and Now. Many, myself included, claim that Heaven and Hell are what you make it, that they exist right here, right now. Now what if that were true? And what if each of us chose to act out radical love in each moment? Is it possible that if we passed some unknown critical mass that Heaven would become a universal reality for everyone? That the divisions that we are perceive would disappear from our awareness?

Many will write me off as a kook. Many of the great mystics in history were (not that I would count myself among them). As I write and think about it, I suppose that you discounting me is merely me discounting myself. Do I doubt the veracity of what I have just written? The truth is: yes, I do. Part of me doubts that we have the ability to create it. I know too many humans. Humans have an unending ability to love. We also have an unending ability to fuck shit up. We engage in self-sabotage.

Given that, I suppose one of the keys to this vision is enacting radical self love.

Sometimes it is easier to love "the other" than to love ourselves. Of course, given my initial premise, by loving the other, we are loving ourselves. We have to start where we are, be patient with our current limitations but aspire towards realizing Radical Love.

Source: via Allegra on Pinterest

"Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me." 

Friday, July 6, 2012

My review of Snow White and the Huntsman [Spoiler Alert]

I should start by saying that I normally like almost every movie I have ever seen. There are a few notable exceptions: Wild Wild West and Strange Days, for example.

This evening I paid full price to see Snow White and the Huntsman and as a cash strapped graduate student, I am regretting the decision. This is not to say that the movie was terrible, however it was definitely one that I wish I had saved money by seeing as a matinee.

Before seeing the movie, a friend and I joked that this film would redeem Kristen Stewart from The Twilight saga. I am now thinking that it may not be the movies but the actress that is at fault. If I am wrong, Ms Stewart will need to continue to find work that will redeem her as an actress. And how does she always manage to end up in awkward love triangles??

The movie is very very beautifully shot and this is one of its redeeming characteristics but also part of its downfall- the lengthy scenery shots began to have a self-important feel to them, as if the director thought it was a great art-house film instead of a Hollywood blockbuster (wanna be). A lot of this movie could have been left on the editing room floor.

Charlize Theron is amazing as always and even the terrible script could not hold her down. (In my opinion, this is the mark of a great actor: their talent can shine through even the worst of scripts.) Chris Hemsworth (of Thor fame) has a lengthy speech towards the end of the film and all I could hear was my 8th grade English teacher, Mrs McPherson, saying, "Show!! Not tell!!" The script left a lot to be desired.

[Spoiler Alert!!] My very favorite part of the film was the ending: Snow White triumphs and succeeds to the throne... alone. I was so relieved that the filmmakers didn't crap on their film by having Snow choose one of her suitors to be king but instead opted to allow her to demonstrate strength and independence (as well as allowing the viewer to imagine the plot continuing instead of spoon feeding it to us).

As a side note, I don't think I have ever checked my watch as many times during a movie as during this one. I had to fight the desire to pull out my phone and tweet about how bored I was; the only reason I didn't was out of respect to my fellow movie patrons, who sadly also paid full price.

In my mind...

In my mind I am Jessica Rabbit. 

But I fear that in reality, I am Pippi Longstocking. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Zen Koan on non-attachment and thoughts [updated]

"If you own a teacup that is very precious to you, you have two choices: you can be obsessively careful with it, and live in fear that you'll drop it, or someone will chip it, or an earthquake will come and it will fall out of the cabinet. This object, intended to bring you pleasure, can become a burden.

Or, you can imagine that it is already broken -- because in an important sense, it is. It's sure to break someday, just as you're sure to die and the universe is sure to come to an end. Then, every time you drink from the cup will be a pleasure, a gift from the gods, a special reunion between you and something you had lost. You will be sure to appreciate every chance you have to use it, but having already said goodbye you will not need to use it with fear.

When I read this to Jeff, he went to the fatalist extreme, asserting that if this is the case, then why not commit suicide now, if all is already lost? Non-attachment is not about grieving over what is lost, it is about celebrating the joy when it is found. And knowing that moment will not last. Practitioners who have mastered mindfulness (of which I am not one) are so immersed in the moment that the moment prior and the one to come are not relevant. Whether the teacup exists in the next moment does not matter (or whether or not it existed in the moment previous) what matters is that in this moment the teacup exists and that is what is to be celebrated.

I used to hide $5 bills in my pockets. Obviously I knew I had done it. And the money was always mine. Yet imagine the joy I experienced upon reaching into my pocket and finding money!! While it seems a bit counter intuitive to use money as an example of non-attachment, to me that moment is what this koan is addressing.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

May we learn to celebrate our cracks

When I was younger, I planned to grow old gracefully, to celebrate my laugh lines and wrinkles as testaments to a life well lived. However, as growing old becomes more reality than theory, I struggle with vanity and ego. Intellectually, I know how I want to be, however my ego interrupts my intention. I just saw the above post on Facebook and I am once again re-inspired to celebrate my journey and all the scars that stand as testament to it.

May we all learn to celebrate our cracks and fill them with gold.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Saying goodbye to Shamrock for the last time?

Shamrock at age 41
I have the world's best pony. No really, I do; it is an irrefutable statement. He is famous around these parts.

I got him when I was around 15 or 16 as my Children's Hunter/Jumper horse. He is of unknown age and unknown breeding at this point but along the way we set his age as equal to mine, which makes him 41 years old this year.

Ready for the Hunt! (at the age of 37)
Over the known span of his career, he has taught countless people to ride and was always the go-to horse to help build courage in a timid rider. After he was "retired", he continued to fox-chase until he pulled a suspensory tendon at the age of 38.

My ex-husband is in charge of his care. Ed called me two weeks ago and said I should probably come home and say my goodbyes. Shamu still looks amazing for his age! But I can see that he is feeling old for the first time.

He was also a naughty pony at times.
Just now, I laid down in the paddock with him and told him how much I love him and how grateful I am for all that he has done for me in our 25 years together. I told him that I no longer needed him to protect me and that his "little girl" has grown and will be ok. I gave him permission to not hang on any longer than he needs to.

Now Shamrock is a stubborn red-head, which means he may very well out-live us all. But for all those who love him, and they are too many to count, please keep him in your thoughts- pray for a painless transition when his time comes.

I am the luckiest little girl for having been blessed with such an amazing horse. He will always be in my heart and I will always carry his spirit in me.