Do Not Pray

Do not respond to a catastrophe with prayer. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, US White House Press Secretary responded to the recent reported firing on a crowd in Las Vegas, not to move on the event with prayer. We are not to investigate how one man (but food delivered to the room indicates many), the number supported by audience responses of those who heard overlapping shots, how this small army can get into a hotel room for days armed with 23 rifles, with a metal plate to cover the door, with 3 tripods to mount the guns, with devices to create machine guns out of single firing weapons and so on. People who want to believe that it is only one mad man will believe the latest tale that this single man used the freight elevator to bring the stuff up to his room. But hotel rules require he be accompanied by hotel staff. And nothing noticed, nothing said? We are to investigate changing stories about the event including firing and later blasting through a door that videos show to be untouched, to see contradictions like that the police could not enter for 62 minutes when a hotel engineering worker said the door was unblocked and open.

When a disaster happens and we are told to pray, some say it is like praying instead of taking a fast-acting drug when thrown by some contagious disease; it is like praying as your area goes under water instead of putting out sandbags and preferably of course, to create and maintain strong dykes against exactly such an event. You can think of many recent disasters in which the country’s leaders or their reps said pray instead of act.

Naomi Klein in The Shock Doctrine, pointed to the crisis money-making schemes of people who tell us to pray. That is the time to buy cheap from those in trouble. Our president wants to abandon Puerto Rico due to debts incurred to US banks who do not reinvest their profits in PR. He does not allow the Jones Act closure to last beyond 10 days which keeps direct aid from other island nations to make direct access to PR with food and water and drugs. Jones says they must go to the US (Florida) and unload and reload into US boats which totally inflates the cost of the rescue. Trump said that the shipping companies’ need come first. Likely Pence, his religious front man said to pray.

Praying is usually a request from god to meet some need. Praying is the wrong response to disaster. Whatever your religious affiliation or its lack, do not look on the economic side of things – who will profit and who will lose in terms of your actions. Act for the greater good of living things. Good action is a form of prayer.

Advertisements

HOMELESSNESS

Just saw an enormous sculpture under the arch in Washington Square park. It is a wire cage with a cut-out image suggesting “person.” The vagary of the image says man or woman and child and grandparent and all of us, collectively indistinguishable in increasing numbers, everywhere.

Homelessness is a kind of jail, a world of fences which keep you out and move you on. First, I laughed at the image like a 60s “shmoo.” Then, after friend Caryn said it looks like a jail, I began to feel the horror of being a caged-in human. Feeling the torture of these people stimulates my fear of suffering a similar fate. I sought an excuse: those refugees must have been bad or stupid. I and my family/religion/political affiliation are smart and safe. I and we turn their eyes away and say not me.

Ai Weiwei has created a film about refugees in many countries he calls Human Flow. He and his father were routed and put away in distant Chinese camp as intellectuals. Readers and thinkers are felt to be dangerous to tyrants. They might not fall for the “leader’s” political hype. Following Dad’s orders in order to not seem a rebel, Ai Weiwei destroyed his father’s enormous library. But still he and son were arrested. Eventually, Ai Weiwei was released and left the country. When he returned to visit a sick father, he was attacked and held for a while.

Why have we fallen into empire building lawless taking/predatory behavior on the defenseless who have something we want? The Israelis evict the Palestinians and locked in Ghaza, increasingly without water and power. They will die of starvation, cholera. Puerto Rico, a recently flooded US territory, is not helped by its US owners; accused of poor planning after being unable to control their economy including outside trading due to the Jones Act. Everything has to be loaded and then shipped from the US which greatly increases prices.

FEMA said it is only there to give advice after showering food and water into flooded Texas. We can’t forget that the Puerto Rican population is largely brown and black. Texas is largely white if you ignore (the original owners), the Mexicans. After most of the Puerto Rican natives are dead or gone to the US, expensive sea-side hotels will rise.

Empire builders, often using drones attack hospitals and schools and water purification plants, etc., illegal actions according to the rules of war but who enforces them? Obama chose one day each week to create a kill list. Also, illegal. The refugees of Yemen are attacked by the Saudi’s using US weapons. The winner countries want to move their stolen oil through another’s country’s fields on way to the sea. They want to take that country’s minerals and ….
Invaded countries are treated like a gigantic super market. Plunderers erase the debt for what they take with bullets.

Now we celebrate Columbus Day but Columbus and his crew never touched our shores. It’s a kind of farce, celebrating a historic event that didn’t happen. Columbus and his crew settled in Hispaniola, where they made slaves of the friendly Taino, the Araeaks and Lucayans. They saw a little gold jewelry and wanted all of it.

They forced Indians to dig in gold mines until dead. There was a lot of suicide. Attracted to violence, they ripped babies from mother’s wounds and threw them in the air to catch them on swords, cut off hands and hung them around the neck to warn other miners to be bring up more gold. brought killer dogs that fed on children. The population went from 3 million to perhaps 500.

The Massachusetts governor celebrated Thanksgiving after killing 700 native men women and children celebrating the festival of green corn in their villages. We now celebrate Thanksgiving under a false memory. The Indians taught the largely city dwellers how to farm and once that population knew how to survive, the killing began.

Those who espouse violence create a world of refugees. What is to keep the broom of greed from sweeping us away? We speak of killing to keep us safe from so-called terrorists, how many created by our actions? Our violence creates a tidal wave of homeless wanderers as well as people moved to fight back. We all can shoot. We can only stem the tide of homelessness, fear and hate by being friends. That is Ai Weiwei’s message. Can there be any other?

Puerto Rico for Sale

How come we don’t send aid to Puerto Rico, a territory owned by the United States; no ship with aid and food and water, no right to land allowed to foreign ships offering to help hurricane victims. It is not the destroyed docks as some say, which cause this prohibition. Docks can be repaired or constructed in a day.
How come we don’t end the Jones Act which causes Puerto Ricans to pay $6,000 over a US Price for a car and equally inflated fees for every imported thing? How come Puerto Rico sinks in a debt created by outside corporations? Not an accident.
As Naomi Klein said in The Shock Doctrine, that those with power use catastrophe to cannibalize broken areas even broken nations. In this instance, the most valuable possession of the Puerto Rico government is their electrical system. The longer people sit there in the dark, the more hysterical they become and the more they are ready to sell their dearest possession. What is being proposed is a PP (Public/Private) ownership but PP actually means here, profit for the rich that buy it.

Let the Puerto Rico inhabitants suffer to the point of death without power. Heat will suffocate them. There will be no water to drink since wells need electrical power to draw water. No food to eat, all of it gone rancid in hot refrigerators, edible plants drowned by hurricane driven water. The country once green is brown. Streets and fields are full of dead animals which breed disease; there is a release of toxic chemicals from many flooded factories. Toxic waste sites swept by hurricane winds, spread their contents across the land. The coal dust once piled many stories high and left uncovered despite the approaching storm is everywhere. Everybody breathes it.

This land of sun and wind and water, is not allowed by the US to have solar collectors and wind mills. Not allowed to use the tides. Those non-PR corporations which sell coal and oil call the shots. They make profit regardless of the cost to these inhabitants.

Do the US government care about PR’s population? Speeches aside, it is profit from this conquered land that counts.

Elan Golomb

 

Tuned Out

fluteplayerOkay. I live in a heavily populated city (New York) with some 8 million, and what is really amazing is that you can walk through crowds without touching. We are trained to give each other space, not to meet eye to eye after a 30-foot approach and generally to be set on our destination full speed ahead like submarines in a potentially hostile sea.

Good and bad you say? Yes. We are undisturbed by the life around us, fixed on our goal for the day even to get home and eat bagels and lox. What is the problem here? It is the rigidity of our fixation. No matter what we encounter we do not respond. But what if it is a unique thing of beauty? Sorry. No time for that.

I was coming to a busy corner in Brooklyn and heard a flute sounding over the traffic noise. I remembered that musician, a man of great skill and inspiration. This time he had a younger boy on violin, as well as an occasional recording of drums. I learned against the subway stanchion and listened for a while with another man, somewhat plump and of easy girth. The man left after dropping some money in the performer’s satchel.

The more I stayed and listened, the more the music moved me. I had to move my knee a little rhythm. It seemed the more pleasure it gave me the more the flutist soared and plunged into mighty glissandos, his head back, flute pointing at the sky. Was that only my imagination? It seemed as if my pleasure energized his dive into expression. I do think that we are in contact if only we allow it, not only with grief and terror, but also with pleasure.

I watched the people passing by with a kind of curiosity. Who was drawn and moved by his offering? First it was the very young children in carriages or just beginning to walk hand in hand. They always looked and lingered as the parent pulled them on. What kind of lesson was that? How we become tuned out and insensitive?

Second it was the elderly. They stopped, said a word to him which he responded to with a smile and by playing. It was they who gave him the thanks of some money. How strange. Is it only the very old and the very young that live within the world? Does societal training hinder us? Is it only before we are conditioned by societal training and after we see its nonsensical and largely useless folly, that we can enjoy the great beauty and talent available to us? Or is it possible for all of us to find our childlike innocence or elderly wisdom to really tune into the world around us?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ittle in the rhythm. It seemed the more pleasure it gave me the more the flutist soared a

.n plunged into mighty glissandoes

The Family Bed Misused

The family bed was conceived of as a way to make sleeping a togetherness experience with the parents. There was no age barrier to sharing, young and old alike. Usually, the older ones start wanting their own bed before the younger although they are always able to share if desired. The parents sometimes get a feeling of ”enough” when their kids are in the 6th grade and beginning to want to have their own bed.  However, usually high school kids, so conscious of what their peers are doing and wanting to fit in, are more than ready for a bed and if possible, a room of their own!

The family bed becomes a creator of disturbance, sometimes lasting when it is allowed or prohibited as a reward or punishment, inevitably when one or more of the children is singled out. Then the “chosen one” learns some kind of inevitably destructive lesson whether it is as a reward or as a punishment. It becomes part of one’s self-labelling. You are the unloved excluded or the special included. On what basis? Who knows? It teaches distorted lessons about how to get loved or how to live without it.

Take the example of a mother who was unable to conceive after years of trying so adopted two dark-skinned babies from a less-developed southern country. The older one, a girl, was favored for her beauty, but in some ways was expected to restrain her emotions and speech, her likes and dislikes, and needs. She had an adopted a negative label. The younger adopted child turned out to have a learning disability and was slow to speak, think, and adapt. His parents did not respond to this with humor and acceptance, a simplification of tasks followed by a “You did it.” He was more actively rejected, put-down, ignored. Neither parent was aware of playing favorites. Parents play out the rejection they experienced as infants, this time as doer rather than victim.

The older children sometimes slept with Mom and Dad but more readily moved away from them. The bed without the parent’s conscious knowing was not a welcoming place.

But as they say, S__ hits the fan when Mom suddenly conceived. This child was born white skinned and blond. She was very clever as younger children are in picking up language, partly because they listen to their siblings, but also because the parents endlessly crooned, held, and talked to this child. She too had access to the Family Bed.

With all her favoritism, it would seem surprising that she was given to throwing tantrums, not an easy sleeper, needing to be held and coddled; out of infancy, she still was prone to ready tears, cries of helplessness and need. One would wonder where this came from since favor was heaped upon her. It came from her baby privilege.

And now that she is about twelve, she still has to start sleeping with Mom (Dad has departed to a more loving partner) and only in the early morning departs for her bed. She still stages helpless tantrums, acting like a far younger child. She does this even though she is quite accurate in her understanding and descriptions of other people. Her intelligence is not running the show. It is her view of herself as a special baby. Exhibiting the behavior to which Mom favorably responded. She has seen older Sister and Brother rejected, scuttled to a demanding adulthood. Part of her clinging to babyhood is her being overweight. Brother is slim. Sister is very small and exquisitely formed but not an extra ounce of fat upon her. She lives with emotional rations.

But the third child is plump she has a baby figure, no waist, no early breasts, like the pawn on a chess piece. She is uncomfortable with her ungainliness but the child within accepts it as a necessity to remain Mom’s favorite. Early training, what gains love if nothing replaces it, remains with us for life.

It’s not true she can’t lose the weight. She has sometimes dieted down only to regain it. It is the connection her inner child has with a Mother who only loves her as a baby, the one endlessly welcomed to the family bed which keeps her a fat child. It is only after seeing the baby love addiction and deciding that a shaky childhood should not run us for life, that one can make up one’s mind to move on, lose the weight, act like a real adult.

 

Dare to Love

Loving is very difficult and very wonderful the more you let it happen. People use the word love a lot including those who write adds to sell you something. But the actual fact of love is something entirely different.

We often say we are in love when we enter a fantasy directed sky float. Real love is something we move into, not a surreal fantasy of attaining the ideal. Fantasy love has-to fade in time but real love grows. But why do we so much fear this highest experience and which part of us is it that fears it? We need to know that part, where it comes from and why we still listen to its fears and negative advice. There are no shun pikes to get around fear. You have-to move through your memory and experience of the past to get beyond it.

One key element of remaining afraid is that being in love means you will be seen. This has to-do with resurrecting the belief we are unworthy, the consequences of an unloved childhood. We have-to be seen. This does not mean dumping your wounded past all at once onto the emotional lap of your would-be lover. But experiences, difficulties, memories will arise. A lover wants to know them. When early unloved experiences appear as if relevant to the present, the past needs to be decoded and discussed. Your lover’s listening without condemnation brings you to the present. Then, at last you can leave the past behind. Growth almost always requires living through the original pain.

In equal fashion, we have-to see the one we love. Being seen and loved means that love is real. Being a fantasy enactment for your lover means it isn’t. Pretending to be a specific “ideal” type can last a life time. Feeling loved requires not hiding behind a screen. Violence against your lover is also a kind of screen. We are rejected for being monsters which is an easier blow to our shaky self-esteem than being rejected for being our loving and vulnerable selves, the selves our parents threw away.

Take a chance at being that unguarded person. Speak your personal truth. There will be people who cannot follow you there. Your openness and their negative response reveals the need to move on. Develop courage and politely leave. Do not stay with the latest model of your unloving parent. Seek someone who can fully be there with you. You won’t regret it.

Please read my book Unloved Again. 

Elan Golomb

 

My Green Coat ….Banned

I dreamed of wearing my bright green coat, the kind of green like newly opened leaves on a Maple tree. Its green stood out compared to everyone’s drab grey and brown and black. They were in uniform. I was not.

I was preparing to board a train when a man in uniform told me that I could not enter because of the green of my coat. I asked him why but he didn’t answer. The train left without me. Incredulous, I stood there. Some time went by when another train arrived. I waited in line to climb the steps thinking the man who had kept me from the first train must have had some some kind of green phobia. There couldn’t be another like that. But I was wrong. The same man stood between me and the steps and repeated the prohibition of my green coat. I felt the urge to argue and asked him why. He drew a pistol, a small black gun in his right hand and aimed it at me, or was it a wrench?

I woke up.

Dreams of terror are becoming frequent. What is the dream telling me? Green is the color of living things, trees and plants and grass. Green represents my connection to the vitality of life. Green FORBIDDEN? Who made this rule? Is every living thing to be harvested and converted into money? Does turning life into “things” include transforming ourselves? Those who benefit are the .01%, the people we do not see as they travel in their own planes, in chauffeur driven cars from one mansion or resort to another. They are waited on by lesser folk in greys and blacks with white aprons and cuffs and bibs. The servants wait on in silence, yes sir and no sir and as you want sir/madam. In this fog of servitude, no one is seen.

The gun in the policeman’s hand represents the force of a consuming government. Grey clad denizens trudge along under restrictive laws and surveillance. As a wrench in the man’s hand, the weapon represents labor joining force with the fascist regime to ensure gainful employment. The man takes on the required mood of hatred and suppression. Nazis had Jews called Kapos to run their extermination camp houses in which starving, frozen prisoners lay dying on shared straw mattresses, one bunk beneath the other. The Kapos stayed alive by being lethal, angry and emotionally dead.

But why have we all become insane, ready to sacrifice life for the instruments of wealth? Is there no pleasure in existing, breathing fresh air and smelling flowers? Sacrifice is part of the American culture. The indigenous natives were murdered by settlers. Slaves grew their owner’s investments astronomically. Now poor people labor for corporations in prisons. Outside, people work  as “temps” without health care or vacations or retirement pensions. Wages are carried by the winds of profit to shores where people work for way less. Work slaves are lucky to get tips. Sacrifice of the many for the few has been going on here since the Mayflower.

My wearing green is a revolutionary act. We have worn grey and black too long, far too long now. Green is the color of what keeps us alive and sane.