Silence Is Not Golden

My friend told me about spending a birthday with her granddaughter on her 16th birthday. She told me that the girl told her of her mother’s betrayal, telling the girl’s Tai Kwando teacher, the mother’s co-teacher and secret lover, that the girl said his teaching technique was faulty. The mother told her boyfriend and the boyfriend then attacked the daughter for a variety of unrelated things. Clearly to the girl, it was punishment following the mother’s betrayal.

As a result, the girl was not speaking to her mother except for necessary directives and the mother seemed not to notice. The girl, an adoptee, asked by her mother years ago if she as regarded as her mother, answered one half. Mom immediately said that they could hunt down the girl’s mother in Guatemala if she wanted. Mom was totally unthinking, probably unconsciously and deliberately so, that the girl found her to be one half a parent because she acted in a half-parent way. Telling her boyfriend what her daughter said about him was a perfect example.

I asked my friend what did she say to her granddaughter when she heard the story. She said, “I was silent.” I heard a warning note in her voice, a “don’t go there” and wondered why. She was being half a grandmother the way her daughter was half a mother.

I dared to ask why she said nothing in return to her granddaughter’s disclosure. She said I don’t want to say bad things about my daughter. She said it in a haughty way, part of her Buddhist training to only support love. I wanted to say more but she clearly did not want to hear it. So, I will say what I did not say to her and then some, here.

She had a vituperative demanding mother who required worship. She was designated the caretaker of her younger brothers. No one thanked her for it and she quickly learned to keep her mouth shut, particularly since her father was even worse and had no interest in her at all. Keep an A average and get out of my way when I leave to be with my friends at the airport (he had a tiny plane) bought from his teacher’s and minister’s salary. Family came last if at all.

Fear underlay her silence although she painted it with the color of goodness. Sometimes, what we tell ourselves about how wonderful we are is merely a cover up. She exemplified the silence that her granddaughter was using towards her mother, a kind of unstated non-endorsement. She was supporting the same kind of alienation she had from Mom and Dad in childhood. She was covering up her own overly indulgent behavior she always had toward her daughter, giving her the support no matter what she never got from her Mother and creating a self-centered spoiled brat. It is this brat part of the girl’s mother who did not think to ask what makes me only one half a mother to you, my daughter.

My friend needs to tell her granddaughter to tell her mother about her hurt feelings at the mother’s passing on the girl’s secret to her lover. Yes, the mother’s feelings might be hurt. It might be hard for her to consider that something she is doing is causing a problem. But do remember that the mother’s upset and subsequent (hopeful) examination of her motivation as well as thoughtless if not ill-intentioned doing, feeling sorry and apologizing will bring mother and daughter closer.

It is always better to air grievances so that trust is reestablished. There is nothing better than knowing you can always talk about it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

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 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 destructive lesson whether it is as a reward or as a punishment. It becomes part of one’s self-labeling. 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 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 and ignored. Neither parent was aware of playing favorites. Parents play out the rejection they experienced as children, this time as doer rather than victim.

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

But as they say, S____ hits the fan and Mom suddenly conceived. This child was born white skinned and blond. She was 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 departe to a more loving partner)and only in the 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 description 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 baby hood 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 board. 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 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Is Your True Self

We choose a president who chose a cabinet which is robbing us every single day of things which offer popular support – to give tax breaks to the obscenely rich or great profit to equally powerful corporations. Did we not know this when we voted?

I would say yes and no. We saw a scheming television personalty who promised not to take away Medicare, Medicaid, health care and on and on…. All of these now are on the chopping block. The TV stations went crazy for him because his appearance sold a lot of on-air products. They pretty much ignored everyone else, especially Bernie Sanders.

His reputation for not paying almost everyone who worked for him was not mentioned by mainstream media but seeped into the news elsewhere. Why did we choose to fall into the trip of deceit? Probably because we already were there. People most easily scammed were raised by parents who both terrified and took away their right to think for themselves. These child-minded adults saw the candidate as a powerful figure who could harm them. They chose to accept his words of self-glory as well as promises of help, jobs, etc. that he would not keep. The child within is too frightened of severe parental mistreatment to do otherwise.

But how are we who had a terrifying childhood and, as a consequence, a terrified inner child to move away from our submissive persona and become a free and  and powerful self? That is what this column is about.

I set myself to thinking about people I’ve seen who live in the adult self. I remember going to a NY library to research documentary films because I was about to film one myself on the mothering practices in the Venezuelan Amazon. To my surprise there were few of them. I guess corporations that fund television do so to sell their toothpaste, bombs and bullets through adult educational programming. They are certainly not interested in a tiny bunch of people living off the land. I saw a pygmy family, beautiful small people sitting in an igloo of leaves and branches. It was the rainy season and it sure was raining. There seemed to be some complaining and pointing to the roof until Dad went out and got a few more leaves to cover the holes. Then he sat down next to Mom, next to their older boy child, a boy and a younger child leaning against them, and began to sing to to sing. Momma sang. Daddy sang. The older boy and the baby sang, mouth wide open, not yet quite using words. The melody was beautiful. The harmony even more so- not just the music, but the family itself. Everyone unselfconsciously joined together, entranced.

I then looked at another film of a small group of people, several families on an Indonesian Island. I heard from them that the children never fight. something we in the west call normal. These people gather food from nature around them including mussels in the stream. They leave no imprint on the world.

They too sang. They sometimes sang together, sometimes alone. Even a child would sometimes sing alone. They sang on camera and the tune was beautiful. They sang to celebrate life. They asked the embarrassed and cornered anthropologist to sing. He croaked out “Old McDonald…” They smiled and made happy noises as they were a kind bunch of people.

So this is the image I use for an adult self-singing together, all included. Any “leader” who shuts out certain singers as unworthy, evil, like the Muslims, African Americans, Latinos, are Jews, women, are not singing the song of self. The true self is inclusive. Martin Luther King Jr., made that point. To love all is not to like their aggressive and destructive deeds. A true self feels unity with the living planet which that person will not and cannot despoil.

So find a group in which you can sing your song. Your music needn’t be one of sound. It can be selling solar power, teaching creating. It can be inventing, writing poetry, preserving species, leading hikes. It can be anything in which your spirit sings, so long as you sing with everyone – a beautiful harmony of the human family; more than that, the family of life.

 

 

 

Voter Suppression

 

Those who largely have inherited their wealth see themselves as god-chosen. Those who have less are deemed unworthy. Religion has long been used as an excuse for theft, rape, murder like during the search for the Holy Grail. If one speaks up against economic abuse and has a following, he/she often is jailed and even murdered as were Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. Murderers are hired by those who fear the consequences of a citizen uprising. As Frederick Douglass said, the powerful will not give up anything without a struggle.

Slippage into an undemocratic process has- to be corrected. Elections need to not be run by competing parties but by a neutral group like The League of Women Voters. Instead of attempting to reduce the number of voters as has been happening, voter registration should be conferred at birth and at the time of citizenship. Not voting should have a monetary penalty. Voting is your duty and you right including for those in prison. There can be no loss of voting rights.

Voting should be allowed until the latest moment including weekends. There should be no way to disqualify voters like Kris Koback’s (the “King of Voter Suppression”) error-filled scam of declared double registration when the names of largely black and brown and Spanish Democrats barely resemble each other, to get rid of voters from a rival party.

There should be rank order voting, first choice then second choice and so on, so that the winner is the one who has the most votes. The parties should not determine who will run. Every interested person may run. Instead of corporate money controlling campaigns, a stated federal amount is given to each nominee and no other money is allowed. Voting must be done on paper and hand counted (as is done in Canada). Privately owned computers should not count the vote. Computer output can easily be rigged.

No one including the Supreme Court judges should rule for life. What if their thinking proves unjust like our most recent appointee who rules corporations over people? The Supreme Court is there to serve the people, to distinguish the “unjust.” Bring them up for a vote say every 5 years which is enough time to have proved their mettle. Rule-breaking is the right of despots not of elected presidents. Let the people demand a court appearance with the right to remove from office those who gain spoils from office or who are emotionally unfit to lead.

Demand a retraction of the insane ruling which declares corporations to be people and gives them a too strong influence on those who govern. Change the US economy whose main income comes from prisons and from selling instruments of death which causes an arms race everywhere. Close the prisons and offer free education so that all may acquire valuable skills to earn a living.

Elan Golomb

Unloved Again 

 

 

 

 

 

Create a “green” economy, an economy of peace.

Why Poor People Vote Against their Interests

Why do poor people, the enormous “underclass” vote for a billionaire who never will support them? We let the excessively rich fool us. Is it the Walter Mitty fantasy of moving from rags to riches? Them days are gone forever. Those who have the most will keep it, largely by underpaying, imprisoning, enslaving workers. They get rich by robbing those who lack weapons or group power. It is no accident that union membership is falling off. The misled or fearful do not join.

How can poor people vote for a candidate who boasts about his wealth and promises well-paid jobs but whose history totally denies this? This person was not chosen to run by you and once elected, will do nothing for you. His or her or their corporate bosses or personal greed determines their post-election behavior. But they need your vote to win. This entails a necessity of deceit. The lying begins.

The voters fall for phony promises. You become a young child whose parent promises fairy tale wonders. Many have trouble giving up this belief even after they see themselves betrayed. They remain trapped in the childhood wish and blame themselves or others for its failure to manifest.